The complicated emotional baggage of admitting it’s cold

We’ve got quite a predicament here in northern Minnesota. It’s cold. We’re under a wind chill advisory right now. Tonight at midnight we have a wind chill warning, with -50 wind chills and a high tomorrow of -14. That’s a high. If we’re lucky, -14 is as hot as it’ll get. Exposed skin will experience frostbite in less than a minute. Frostbite functions much like a burn. It is a burning cold.

Now, this is cold. It is noticeably colder than it has been recently. But, on the other hand, it’s usually this cold in January. Usually, meaning, before the string of warmer winters we’ve had lately.

So now the predicament. Do we acknowledge that it’s cold? Do we say “Brrrrrr” on Twitter or Facebook? A lot of people are doing just that. But there are other people who say “I can’t believe all these wimps. This is Minnesota!” Still others straddle the line with hipster references to various memes juxtaposed with acknowledgement of the cold.

That’s right. This is Minnesota. Our culture punishes those who believe their hardships are special. You are not special. And I mean you, person reading this. You especially.

But it is cold. I don’t want to open the door. I have a blanket on my lap. I’m cold.

Sometimes these things must be said aloud.


  1. Yes, it is cold, and since I’ve lived here since 1977, I know it isn’t the first time. But it does make me think, not about my momentary discomfort, but what it must have been like for the settlers, before the invention of insulation. I’ve read historical accounts of the Iron Range. Sometimes the miners going to work were better off, warmth wise, than their wives, stuck home in those uninsulated shacks, with leaky wood stoves. I’ve read how the women’s hair might freeze to the wall overnight. But even is somewhat warmer climates, the upstairs bedrooms were seldom heated not all that long ago. There was no upstairs heat in the house my mom was born in, until she retired back to that house and invested money in such things as a furnace in 1978!. That is in the eastern part of Wisconsin, where it isn’t as cold, but it is damper, which feels just as bad in winter. Those of us who had college roommates who grew up in old farm houses heard stories of stone cold bedrooms. My husband’s college roommate said that they didn’t put left overs in the refrigerator because the kitchen cabinets along the outside was were just as cold as a fridg. Brrrrrrrrrrrr. and Brrrrrrrrrrrrr

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