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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

When the weather outside is frightful…

Published: February 13, 2009
Section: Opinions



I could never understand New Englanders.

Between late November and March, the Boston area is a gray-and-white picture of skeletal tree branches and frozen heaps of once fluffy, soon-to-be crisp and solid snow; frozen icing over an endlessly dismal landscape. After a freshly-fallen snowfall, the stuff quickly glosses-over with dazzling iciness, filled in by shades of grey with black specs here and there. Were one to attempt the customary practice of snow-angel making, that individual would get an unpleasant surprise—first they would triumphantly fall backward towards the earth, arms outstretched, their body’s form impressing itself into the crunchy mound of white ice. Then, quite abruptly, they would realize that an attempt at creating wings would be futile and rather unpleasant from that point, much like trying to swim through a heap of icicles. Thus not only is the frosty icing of snow deceiving and unappealing to begin with, every winter the blinding white stretches of land throughout New England are spotted with countless imprints of unfinished and abandoned snow angels—a wintery graveyard, of sorts.

Those who claim to adore the cold, who are ravished by the “winter wonderland” plaguing the climate through the post-holiday season and who presumably enjoy the feeling of over-chilled extremities are, to my understanding, either very optimistic or completely insane. To these folks I must look like some sort of depressed Inuit girl trudging through the streets of Boston, because under my many layers upon layers of fleeced, woolen, over-and-underarmored insulation, I’m still grumbling to myself about the single-digit temperatures and utter lack of feeling in my big toe.

Every time I am on the verge of frostbite I question the reasons I had for applying to colleges in Boston. Prestigious education? Great. Many students in the proximity? Awesome. Insufferable temperatures reminiscent of frozen Arctic tundra? They forgot to include that bit in the college pamphlet. Remarkable, really, how the worst weather also seems to coincide with the worst workloads for classes. They should cancel college tours during winter session because anyone visiting this time of year would assume by looking at any and every individual that the whole “best years of your life” sentiment is a myth. College students are certainly not a happy bunch this time of year. Between the cold, the common cold, midterm exams and the timely lack of daylight (not to mention sleep), it is no wonder that I have encountered several people within the past week alone claiming to suffer from depression. Am I the only one who always found the acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) just too awfully appropriate?

Snowball fights become deadly when you’re chucking balls of ice and sledding can only be amusing for so long. On days when it’s above 40 outside I get so excited as to want to step out in a tee-shirt and listen for birds chirping. I’m worried that when short-sleeve weather finally arrives my skin will be as ghastly pale as a nocturnal lab rat’s and I’ll be forced to take some sort of melanin supplement. Hopefully I’ll pull through just long enough to once again experience the feeling of unfiltered oxygen against my bare skin. Until then, hey…at least we don’t have any excuse not to study? Just kidding. At least be grateful for indoor heating and the godliness of hot showers. My Siberian ancestors would be proud.