Friday, January 16, 2009

Plus Or Minus

I've discovered a few things, thanks to the recent cold spell. They are as follows:

I have a new pet peeve. People who say the temperature is -20º below. If the temperature is given in a negative number, and someone redundates (welcome to my new verb) that it's below zero, do the two negatives make a positive? We wish the temperature was actually 20º above! This is, perhaps, worse than when people discuss the temperature and include the "windshield" factor. Now, I said that as a child, but I learned that it's "wind chill" factor before I was too old to get away with using that. However, saying "minus twenty degrees below" will make me hit you. Hard. Possibly with a weapon. Cut. It. Out.

Speaking of misuse of the negative... has redefined the negative. My algebra teachers would kick their collective asses if they saw this.
Minus 0º? What the hell is negative zero? Perhaps this is one of those overly complicated numbers that only a handful of nerds on earth can comprehend, and you don't really want to ask what it is because they'll tell you, and you don't want that. In the meantime, I'm just going to be irritated with that.

Bitter fucking cold will not close my workplace. -30º with the wind makes my car go into hibernation, so I can only imagine what American cars were doing yesterday and today. Most local schools (except our school district) and many public entities (including other public libraries) were closed, but not my library. It took two tries to start my car Thursday morning, three tries when I left work on Thursday night, and this morning it took two more tries. When I say "tries", I mean cranking the ignition, getting nothing, pumping the gas a little, getting nothing, starting to panic, easing off, and wondering how long it will take to develop frostbite in my own car while trying to start it. That's one try. Then I wait about 30 seconds and try again. Thankfully, I didn't die in between. 20 minutes of heating it up and the engine was still so cold, no warm air came out of the heat vents. 20 minutes and the layer of ice encasing my car would not melt. 20 minutes and the windows wouldn't even think of opening, not that I wanted them to open. After about an hour in the car, it finally warmed up to where I could take off my gloves and coat, but my toes were still frozen. I saw people walking to the library. Stupid people. I considered running them over and doing them a favor, but then I realized they didn't deserve it. Today I saw a teenage girl walking on the street in jeans, a T-shirt, and a hoodie on top. She looked cold. I bet her school was closed and she was trying to find something to do, because that's what stupid teenagers do. If the library had closed due to weather, I guarantee that even our stupidest employees would not have been walking around town. We would've stayed inside, allowed our cars their hibernation, sipped hot chocolate, cuddled with our pets, and maybe did some laundry. You know how nice it is to wrap yourself in a warm blanket fresh out of the dryer, dog at your feet, nibbling on popcorn while watching reruns of Law & Order. We would not be walking to the library or the store, or anywhere else for that matter.

Deicer can freeze. The panic that ensues when the deicer has frozen and you can't get into your car is not pretty. It's really hard to throw a tantrum on a frozen, icy driveway buried under four inches of frozen snow, when you're bundled in triple or quadruple layers, limbs that barely bend, with only one eyeball exposed. Don't, out of anger, kick the frozen shit that has built up in the wheel wells. It won't budge in this weather. It might as well be solid steel. And you can feel pain despite the cold. The good news is you cannot hear your neighbors laughing at you when they're inside their hermetically sealed homes, enjoying a day off due to weather. (Fuckers.)

Dogs seem to have to pee more often when it's cold enough outside to kill .

The acts of quickly opening the front door to take the dog out, closing it behind me, then opening it again to come in, and quickly closing it behind me again, can cause the temperature in my entire downstairs to drop 3 full degrees. And it's set at 66º because we're broke. It then takes my furnace a half-hour to warm it back up to 66 again. Which is just in time for the dog's bladder to fill again.

I no longer want to move north.


Rachel said...

wow, I am very sorry to hear this. How on earth can they honestly leave the library open in such conditions that are obviously life threatening?? (O_O)
That's weather where you spit and it goes tinkle instead of splat, where there is severe chance of the pipes freeing, thus leaving you without the use of a flushing toilet!
eeek! I hope a pipe bursts in a part of the library that doesn't damage books but is enough to close the library. (we had the pipes in our church kitchen burst and there was ice all over the ceiling and floor, among the 2 inches of water... had to replace a lot... >.<)

Anonymous said...

Honestly--what the hell is wrong with library patrons? We were busy yesterday and, like your community, all the schools were closed. Your description of a day off sounds like heaven and I want it.

Phil said...

Diligently refraining from explaining his mathematical theories on minus zero. Also diligently refraining from discussing how it has steadily been in the sixties ABOVE here lately. Well, maybe not so diligently. :)

Echoes in a Nomad's Head

Cat. said...

You said it sister; I can add nothing to your rant.

But, here's a tip (cuz I'm hopelessly Referencey): if your lock freezes, stick your key in a snowbank for a couple of minutes and then try again. I'm not sure it works, but it was in a book. Of course. Naturally, if it is minus 20 below, your hand will fall off while you wait for the key to chill, but you can use the other hand to open the door, right?