March starts tomorrow. We should be able to see the light at the end of the ice-tunnel that is winter, and yet huge swaths of the country are still despair-inducing frozen hellholes. And so, many Americans are currently willing to do anything to escape the cold.
The bone-piercing, soul-crushing cold. The cold that makes you cry and then freezes the tears to your face so your tender, chapped face skin becomes a skating rink for gnats, except the gnats are all dead because the merciless cold killed them.
It's so bad that in Chicago, they're trying to convince themselves that it's okay because at least it was sunny a lot! (It's been the third coldest winter on record in the town they're now calling Chi-Beria.) The Northeast is supposed to get yet another snowstorm on Monday, and somehow we've gone from despair to ennui and circled back around to desperate escape attempts.
A travel agent recently admitted to the AP that his customers seem more frenzied than usual: "The winter is so bad, there is a certain amount of desperation," adding that, "They come and say, 'I've got to get somewhere warm. Where do you recommend?'" Lots of vacations are getting extended; those who can't vamoose are turning to alternatives such as tanning beds. "We're getting a lot of people coming in here to warm up," one Indiana manager told the AP.
Meanwhile, sunny locales are outright taunting those of us stuck here with their sandy beaches and abundant warmth:
Trains and billboards in Chicago have been plastered with ads showing beaches and pool scenes. In Philadelphia, one promoter put fiberglass mannequins dressed in flip flops, tank tops and shorts atop taxis with their arms outstretched — a whimsical inducement to "fly" south.
"Winter fun" has long since lost its appeal; we're all sick to death of trudging. Probably at least 25 percent of True Detective's popularity is ascribable to the fact it looks real warm in the bayou and we could all use a good swelter. Even people who hate the beach are surely tempted to kill time on Kayak, investigating fares to climates more friendly to human life. Did you know that it will be 80 degrees in San Antonio, Texas today? 80!
I would happily withstand the reeling, barfing bros of Mardi Gras if it meant eating shrimp étouffée in a warm French Quarter courtyard. Go right ahead and vomit in my handbag if that's the price I've got to pay. I'm beyond caring.
That's fairly standard cabin fever, though. A few heroes are going to truly inspirational heights. True story: A friend was supposed to escape to Puerto Rico, but her flight out of New York was canceled due to snow. Rather than accept defeat, she and her boyfriend rented a car and drove overnight to catch their connecting flight to San Juan—out of Atlanta. Nor are they alone; another Jez staffer says friends made a similar trek to Florida.
After a couple of close calls on icy roads, my friend and her BF dragged themselves into Georgia but made the flight. They spent the rest of the week posting tropical Instagrams. Normally I'd accuse her of foolishness, but after this winter? Makes perfect sense to me!
If you need me, I'll be hidden in the back of Tropicana truck, smuggling myself to warmer climes. EAT MY DUST, WINTER.