So now that we’ve had our first, proper winter cold, I’m starting to feel a little better. It was getting close to minus ten (14 Fahr.) this evening, but I had a good pace going and my bits were all looking like they wouldn’t be falling off. It helped that it wasn’t windy – the body can maintain a pretty good micro-climate around the skin as long as it’s not constantly being ripped away. The micro-climate, I mean. Well, the skin too, I suppose. Winter storms can be a bit rippy. It’s mostly the millions of tiny, razor-sharp ice shards being blasted against your skin at high velocity that does the trick. They momentarily melt as they slide (you have to imagine this in slo-mo), tiny rivulets of water running across your exposed cheek and, just before being lifted aloft again by the incessant wind, freezing; microscopic icicles suddenly snapping and being borne aloft in the frenzy of the beastly rush.
Except that didn’t happen tonight. I was just saying it could (and at some point will) happen.
But as everyone around here seems to be so keen on saying, that’s what a Toronto winter is. Bam! And you take your licks whether you drive, bike (hahaha!), walk, ride the rails, or none of the above. Everyone gets equally abused during the dark months. And the current one’s still getting darker. Ouch.
So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m a bit less than enthusiastic about the Olympic torch passing through town. I mean, there are worse things to cheer for than people striving for physical limits, this I know, but I like watching televised events that take me to exotic locales, not another view of winter. Makes me feel like, you know, maybe I should be out there doing that too. A little cross-city skiing or something. There are many occasions when that’s actually not unreasonable, it all depends on the fickle snow. After all, it was ten years ago that MC Mayor Melly-Mel Noooooobody! Lastman (in hindsight, the most entertaining mayor of them all), called in the troops to help with the snow. That spring I shook my fist out the window as my plane took off for the east. Far east. For a while.
Now I have a new perspective :). But perspective doesn’t keep you warm. So standing around waiting for some dude with a flaming stick to run by … meh, I prefer to keep my fingers. But I did catch the rehearsals for the City Hall torch ceremony the day before. Ah, balmier times.
The performance was prime Canadiana, an aboriginal woman booting around front-and-centre surrounded by various immigrants all doing their own thing to a busy Latin beat. And in keeping with the abundant symbolism, a Caucasian cripple wheeled around in her wheelchair in the background during the performance (you can see the obscured wheels in the photo above).
The other thing that dampens my zeal for the Winter Olympics is that they’re happening in Vancouver. This is the second time that the games have been hosted out west, presumably because of their proximity to mountains. Montreal hosted the summer Olympics and Formula 1 racing will be returning there next year. The best that Toronto could muster is the Pan Am Games, and if this is causing you to ask “whuzza?”, you’re not the only one. If it wasn’t for Toronto’s bid (and win), my knowledge of the Games would be limited to being vaguely aware of the name.
I hung around for one more performance of assorted ethnic stomping but I could actually feel the temperature dropping as I stood there:
The Winter Olympics will be a hard sell in about a month’s time. By that point, the novelty of the snow will have worn off and people will be in coping mode. As for me, I’m working on acclimatizing myself, but at some point it won’t really make much difference — it’s either stay indoors or savour a case of frostbite. Watching other people on TV mucking about in the same outdoor mess I’ve just extricated myself from is just not a priority. Sure I can now stroll around in sub-zero temperatures like it’s nobody’s business, but I’d still rather enjoy it from in front of a roaring fire (or heating element — I’m not picky). And if I’m gonna be indoors, I’d rather download a good movie instead.