I zipped up my parka, put on my toque, made sure my boots were laced up, and tried my best to mentally prepare myself for what was about to happen. The biggest obstacle of my day, the moment where you display to the rest of the world what you’re made of, the test that defines who you are as a person.
It was the ten minute walk from the university to my car.
I threw my scarf over the lower part of my face. There was an extreme cold warning over the city, as the wind chill reached a balmy minus 41 celsius. Hesitantly, I took the first step outside, as I wondered if I should just fork out the $800 a month it would cost to live in residence, so I could say goodbye to the outside world from approximately mid-November to March.
It hit me like a bag a bricks (How many people did that happen to before that became a common expression?) and I immediately regretted my decision. Distances appear a lot longer when mother nature decides today’s the day she’d like to have a laugh, and I thought about texting my parents thanks and goodbye, lest I not make it to my car.
I started picking up the pace. For the past 10 years I hadn’t had to experience these frigidly cold winters, as I had been living in a province that had the good sense to normally not dip below -12. And yet here I was, nostalgic for these winters from my childhood, cursing myself for not remembering what this cold felt like before I had moved back here.
I was half-way now. I could even see my car. It was about a football field away, and it gave me hope that I would once again know the feeling of room temperature air. My legs were starting to seize up, so I mentally began saying “left, right, left, right” in my head. Just as things were looking promising, I felt it: the slip of a cheap winter boot on ice. I tried to catch myself, but it was too late. My left leg shot up quicker than I spring from my table at the Pizza Hut buffet when I see them bring out dessert.
I let out a sound that was somewhere between “no” and Chewbacca’s groan. I fell awkwardly, almost in slow motion, and soon I was laying on the ground. “Man down!” People walking by peered down at me through the tiny eye slits they made in their scarves. “It’s too late! Go on without me!”
As I brushed myself off and was once again vertical, I made a mental note to buy better boots. I reached my car, and felt an abundance of gratitude that I did in fact have a car, which saved me from standing outside in this weather to wait for a bus.
I will always be eternally grateful that I was born in this country. I know how hard life was for my grandparents and father when they emigrated from Hungary during the revolution in the 1950’s, and I know their sacrifices have allowed me access to resources I may have not had the privilege of experiencing had I not been born here.
But still, on this intensely cold day, with no relief of this cold snap in sight, I wonder “would anyone care to go to Mexico?”