Snow veterans and snow novices

By Margaret Koss

When you check the weather on your phone and see that the “RealFeel” is -38 F, you know things are bad.

The long weekend was a particularly brutal one here in Appleton, as well as the rest of Wisconsin. Two people have frozen to death—one in Milwaukee and one in Green Bay—in the past two weeks as wind chill advisories have been in effect throughout the entire state. Some Lawrentians are remaining optimistic: junior Aaron Witter got excited when looking at the upcoming forecast, even going so far to say, “It’s going to be 12 F on Wednesday, that’s fine.”

While we are all doing our best to cope, it is important to keep in mind that we all have varying levels of experience with winter. Junior and Minnesota native Kara Taft, for example, is a seasoned veteran. “In Minnesota, it’s very rare for schools to be closed if it’s too cold. I think in my entire school experience, school was closed due to the cold once,” she said. She did not seem to think Appleton was any worse or better than Minnesota. “I was outside this weekend, it was fine. The wind is just really bad,” she said.

When asked if Taft ever knew someone who got their tongue stuck to a metal pole, she answered, “I have. You just pour hot water on it.”

Taft clearly is prepared to handle winter, but other Lawrentians—such as freshman and California native Jason Tristram—are new to this way of living and even confused by it. “I just think it’s really weird that snow falls in flakes,” Tristram said. “I think it’s unrealistic, I think it’s tacky, I think it’s ridiculous—I guess I understand why it does that, but I don’t think it should,” he said.

This perspective is likely something that Midwesterners would be inherently puzzled by, as snow is such a normal phenomenon in winter. As far as the cold temperature goes, Tristram said, “I’ve never been in this cold weather in my entire life. But I can’t really tell the difference between really cold temperatures—like, 9 and -8 [F]—except that the colder it is, the more it stings.” One thing Tristram appreciated about winter in Wisconsin is that temperatures inside are really warm. “Insulation is not very good anywhere in California,” he explained.

Clearly, we all have different opinions on winter and how to deal with it, but one thing we all can agree is that we miss that vitamin D. Spring can not come soon enough!