My motto was “No snow, no strife.” I insisted I loved the rain, but I was used to thunderclaps, not drizzle and damp. Then a cold front moved in from Alaska—the forecast was foreboding—temperatures were expected to dip to forty below with the wind chill factor. Minus forty is the only reading where the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales correspond. Every news station broadcast a warning to stay indoors, to avoid driving, indicating there would be several inches of snowfall.
“Is this a joke?” I asked the locals. I explained how I’d made it to class late for an exam during a blizzard in my final year of high school, and I wasn’t let off the hook, I lost ten minutes of writing time.
Even though I had wanted to avoid winter in my move to Lotus Land, I waxed poetic on the subject of snow, giving a mini-lecture on the various types: Fluffy snow fell slowly; one could almost make out the spiky points of each caught snowflake before it melted into a mitten. Packing snow, as its name indicated, was best for making snowballs, building snowmen, holding neighborhood snow wars. Wet snow—the kind that made me shiver and shake as I stood waiting an hour for a bus home from campus that January—was rain mixed with snow: sleet that poured down as ice pellets.
That day I got soaked through to my skin. I stomped back to my apartment in an attempt to delay the hypothermia I was certain I had developed. I stood in the shower, shuddering, as the hot water returned prickly sensation to my body.
I met people who were thrilled with the change of elements, seeing their snowless childhoods as a major blow to their happy memories. I developed a bronchial cough. For the next three months, I sounded like my grandfather, a life-long septuagenarian smoker. From then on, I had only one category for snow when anyone asked me about it: stupid.