Wednesday, January 2, 2008

confessions of a less-than-burly gurlie

So, just the other day I was lamenting the mildness of the winter here, and remembering fondly those damn bite-your-butt cold cold days in Anchorage, when my eyelashes would sport tiny icicles and frost settled at the base of my nostrils. I remember saying, when I lived there, "When it warms up to zero degrees, I think I'll go skiing."
But I must be getting soft. This afternoon, I bundled the kids up and took them outside. After about 10 minutes, I was thinking, c'mon guys, get cold, I'm frickin' freezing here. But they were fine ("I don't need my hat. I don't need my mittens."). I stood there shivering while they frolicked in our icy yard.
A short while later, I got into the car to meet my fellow Wednesday Night Runners. The thermometer in the car said 28 degrees. "Not too bad," I thought. As we ran, I felt the air getting colder, and even though my hands were nestled in heavy fleece mittens (on a run! I mean, really! What a wus!), and I was sporting a wool hat (again, really!), I was freezing. When I got back into the car to go home, it was 15 degrees, and my hands were so numb I could barely turn the key. I thought again about those minus 25 nights in Anchorage, and I wondered, how in the hell did I turn the key then? And then I had a vision of myself at 10pm, having just gotten off work, sitting in my Subaru, (frozen) tears of frustration after 10 or 15 minutes of trying, with both hands, to get the switch to turn while every other part of my body, despite several layers of clothing and a down parka, turned to ice.
Do I miss Alaska? Yes. Do I miss my breath freezing before my very eyes? Well, I confess. . . Not really.
Once upon a time my friend Jon Cobb and I had a little good-natured spat over which one of us had earned the right to the nickname "Burly." I don't know that the issue was ever resolved (there was some talk of a "walk to the death"), but somehow Jon emerged as the Burly One and I was stuck with the slightly less hearty "Gurlie." I grumbled at the time. Now Jon has a house in Alaska and, after a brief stint as a horse wrestler, now spends much of his time climbing.
Okay, Jon, you've won!