Monday, January 6, 2014


We may not be as affected by the arctic air cold fronts as most of the other parts of the country where park benches are covered in ice and water freezes mid-air, but here in Florida we feel it too. With temperatures below freezing in the evening and barely above during the day, the weather chose to significantly interfere with my schedule. I don't have any winter clothing in Florida and I don't drive car, which means if I have to go somewhere I spend a lot of time waiting for the bus. On Friday I was planning on going to the law library to do some research for the motions in a case I was working on. I was wearing my thickest jeans and a jacket that usually helps me survive the coldest winters. It was around noon and my phone said it was 10"C outside. (An apology to my American followers: after nine years of living here I only have a basic understanding of what's hot and what's cold in Fahrenheit). Half way to the bus stop, the chill wind was really getting to me, I felt it through all of my body and I decided it was not going to happen that day. And I was running out of time to do my work, so it was not an easy decision.  On Saturday the library was closed. I imagined myself sitting in even greater cold that day (although for a few hours the temperatures went up). It was only going to get worse Monday and Tuesday: +5/-7C. My only choice was going in Sunday. For that one day our regular beach resort summer-like warmth returned. Getting there was complicated, but I just had to do it. With buses once an hour and going out of service before five I had a very limited window to do my work. I can't afford to miss the last bus and I don't have the resources to do that kind of research at home. And working with actual books, as much as I had resisted it in law school actually gives me better control and idea of what I'm doing. During my last semester I signed up for an advanced research class. Our instructor insisted we used mostly the books we had on shelves and she'd mostly send us on scavenger hunt like assignments. Back then I didn't quite get it. It's the XXI century, I thought. And I also feared I would never get the hang of it. But the computer systems cost money to use them, sometimes per every search we run and giving us free access to those data bases was designed to get us hooked. So here I was, browsing through shelves on a Sunday afternoon , before the cold returned the next week.  It was my one shot to get it all done.  Oddly enough, I knew how to navigate those books, and I was able to find what I was looking for. Good- I didn't have to attempt to do it again the next day. I was thinking I'd end up going  back again and again, maybe ordering a taxi to keep me warm. But there it was, my answer- and I huge weight was lifted off my shoulder. I still have to write the things I must write of course, but this was the one big thing I had to do this week and I worried about it, as the library wasn't open over the Christmas day. Now I can stay home and work over a cup of green tea or a Tassimo latte and I don't have to get out until the cold goes away. And all of this made me think about all the people with mobility issues or in wheelchairs living in those colder areas. How are they surviving this? How do they get around? What do they do for food?

1 comment:

  1. LOL! With wind chill it is -23 C today... last night it was -28 C! Power chairs become crippled quickly in the cold - the batteries drain because of the increased resistance of cold metal wires. -Short- distances/time out are OK (15-20min tops). You get strategic about buses (where can I catch a bus where I can wait indoors & still see the bus in time to get to the stop?) and learn where to change trains where the system is underground. Our bus & train system has web apps for predicted times to stop arrival-not totally accurate but usually cuts down on time waiting at stop.

    As for people: long johns, fur lined boots/mittens with good socks and gloves under the mittens. Multiple sweaters, scarves, a good warm hat that covers your ears/forehead. Layers! With that all important windproof layer on top.