You know how whenever it's really cold, some asshole always claims "this is nothing" compared to where he's from? Well, the BBC has interviewed a bunch of those assholes.
Some people profiled by Raffi Berg in what is essentially a trend piece about winter kind of have a point. In Oymyakon, Russia (major industry: reindeer-breeding), it's so cold that cell phones don't work (luckily, there's no service there anyway). You also can't wear glasses outside, because they will freeze to your face. Other sources, however, just seem like smug winter-snobs. Says one resident of Mouhijarvi, Finland,
Ha! It's 5pm in Mouhijarvi and the thermometer outside our kitchen window is currently reading -28C. With no cloud cover in sight I would expect the temperature to fall at least a couple of degrees during the evening. Not abnormal here at this time of year.
Ha indeed. Even the English, known for their bad weather, are apparently deemed winter sissies for their road closures. Says BBC News reader Dario More,
Why do the English have this problem every year? Here, in Dresden, at -13C, I drive my car normally on ice and snow.
More also frequently carries his car uphill both ways to car school, all while naked and singing a jaunty tune. Seriously, weather one-upmanship is a popular pastime the world over — and while people in big cities tend to use other forms of discomfort as bragging fodder (subway rides, dangerous neighborhoods), weather-snobbery is one of the only forms of self-aggrandizement actually acceptable in the American Midwest. Which is how I, a lifelong Californian, became a winter snob. After a mere two years in Iowa, I have become forevermore the kind of person who claims not to be really cold until the inside of my nose is freezing, and who talks ad nauseum about that time it was -15 but I went out to dinner anyway. But: I also have some tips, for those of you recently transplanted to colder climes, or for denizens of my home state curious about how the seasonally afflicted live.
Do not buy a windshield cover.
You might think this is an easy way to avoid scraping your windshield. You might wonder why no one else in your town has one. The reason is they will fucking freeze to your windshield and create a layer of impossibly hard super-ice that will take four times as long to scrape. Save your money.
You can use boiling water instead.
This is a quick-and-dirty no-scrape method that actually works pretty well, provided you're close to a source of boiling water. You do want to have a towel handy to dry off the windshield immediately after you splash it, so it doesn't refreeze. Also, you will get boiling water on yourself. At least it's warm.
Your car will not start.
If there's a situation where it would be really annoying and even dangerous for your car to make that sickening click-click-click noise and refuse to do anything, assume this is exactly what will happen. Just don't drive anywhere in the winter, basically — then you can ignore the first two tips as well.
Your phone is your enemy.
Almost every phone requires that you take off your gloves to use it. The iPhone has the added bonus that snow can get in under the protective casing and mess up the touchpad, leaving you standing in the blizzard frantically punching your phone and cursing while the tears freeze to your face. Don't call anyone in the winter either.
Insulation is your friend.
Long johns are gross, but luckily wearing leggings under your pants works almost as well. If, however, you go out with just one layer of clothing on your poor little legs, and then you find yourself far from home with completely numb thighs and visions of amputation dancing in your head, you can duck into a public bathroom, take off your pants, wrap toilet paper tightly around both legs, pull your pants back on again, and make it back to your apartment in relative comfort. But you will feel kind of bad about yourself.