There’s a turning point each winter. For weeks the trend has been gradual cooling, to the point where you’re acclimated to temperatures that are about 40 degrees. Then, suddenly, the mercury plummets, and you’re dealing with the first significant snowfall, or the first truly frigid day where the temperature falls below 20.
This used to be a surprise. Unless you were someone who actually watched the local news — and who under the age of 90 watches the local news these days? — you had no idea what the weather was going to be. There’s a reason why the nuns in The Sound of Music sang about Maria being as “unpredictable as weather.” The weather was a constant surprise.
But that was in the days before weather apps on smartphones became ubiquitous. Now, when you tap your weather app to see if it’s supposed to rain today, you’re automatically exposed to a solid week’s worth of forecasts — and you can’t help but look at it. And when I checked the app this morning, I saw that we’re supposed to get a steady diet of lows in the teens, then two days of snow, and finally a day where the low is three degrees. Three degrees! I like the song When Will I See You Again? as much as the next R&B fan, but “three degrees” isn’t a word combination I want to hear right now. It means that the turning point is here, and winter is about to strike with all of its brutal iciness, and it’s time to rotate to the heavier coats and clothing and to start eating hot food at every meal.
I liked it better when the turning point caught me by surprise, and I spent the last few days of pre-winter unaware of what was to come right around the corner, rather than bracing myself for the onslaught.