Winter has been kind to Pittsburgh so far -- too kind, in fact. I've become accustomed to a blustery day or two, followed by thaws that seem to promise spring -- the sun is warm, the ground is soft, I can wear my less bulky down jacket. Now, we get a few days of freezing temperatures, and winter suddenly seems long and unbearable.
Winter is delightful when thick, fat snowflakes are swirling outside, when my two dogs are wrestling or sleeping, when I'm curled up on the couch with a few books and cup of tea or glass of wine (is it before noon or after?)
It's another thing altogether when the dogs are yelping to go outside at 6 AM, when our bare feet are hitting the cold tile of the bathroom floor, when we're pulling work attire across our goose-bumpy skin and dragging our tired selves out to our frigid SUV. When the ten minute walk into work feels like a wind-tunneled eternity.
This stop-complaining-Carrie thing falls by the wayside when the temperatures drop below freezing, and on Monday mornings. And especially when the two become one.
I used to think that I'd never really want to live down south, that I liked snow around Christmastime too much, that the summers would be unbearable. I'm reconsidering that notion now, just like I do almost every February. It hardly ever snows around Christmastime in Pittsburgh -- you're much more likely to get a drizzly, freezing rain. Pittsburgh seems to save its snow for late winter, when everyone is sick of the cold anyway.
I'm not talking about the Deep South or the tropics here -- South Carolina, Georgia, or Florida would be too much of a shock for this Northerner's system. I'm talking about the places where winter comes late and leaves early, where pine trees and magnolias both feel at home. North Carolina, Virginia, DC, Kentucky.
I've spent all of my life living in cities with weather (and atmosphere) that the rest of the country makes jokes about: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Toledo. I hold a lot of love in my heart for those cities, in that order -- Pittsburgh is my lifelong lover, Cleveland was an occasionally rocky relationship, and Toledo was a brief and best forgotten fling.
But at least once in my life, I'd like to live somewhere without weather jokes, just for awhile. Because in February, it very much feels like the joke is on us.