Sunday, 12 February 2012

No Polar Bears?

It is cold outside.

In fact, it‘s been outer Siberia here for weeks now.

No really.... friggin, freezing cold.

So cold that it feels as if you‘re breathing in razor blades instead of air.

So cold that the skin on your face gets numb and your eyes start watering in a desperate attempt to prevent the eyeballs from turning into ice cubes.

So cold that you expect to run into polar bears on your way to work.

And frankly, they would feel quite at home here right now. Need ice floes? No problem, just take a stroll over the city center‘s new piazza. The smooth flagstones covered in a thin layer of ice are guaranteed to make them feel at home (plus, the old folks desperately trying to hang on to their rolling walkers and their walking sticks would be easy prey).

Obviously this piazza was designed for Mediterranean cities where the temperatures never fall below zero. That, or someone in the city council has a very weird sense of humor. (Baby and I managed to cross it today without falling flat on our faces but only thanks to some impressive arm-flailing abilities).

On the other hand, given the many layers of clothes we were wearing, I doubt it that we would have hurt ourselves had we indeed fallen. (Imagine the Michelin Man toppling over).

So, yes, it‘s really, really, reeeeeaaaallllyyyy cold outside and I‘m not made for this. I don‘t mind a nice and sunny winter day, don‘t get me wrong, but when it is so cold outside that the only option to prevent frostbite is to stay inside, then something is seriously wrong in my world.

Aside from the obvious effects of such a harsh winter weather like the high energy costs, the difficulties of getting to work thanks to the car battery being drained by the ice cold, the risks of water pipes freezing up (already happened once so far and let me tell you, it is so NOT fun!), my body seems to think it is time to start hibernating with all and everything that includes.

Let‘s see, hibernating is described as certain mammals‘ good fortune to be able to sleep through the winter. They bed down in the fall and, for all intents and purposes, don‘t arise again until the spring.

Don‘t I wish! I‘m with this concept! A hundred percent! Hands down! The problem is, that I haven‘t quite mastered the sleeping-through-the-winter-part yet.  However, for some strange reasons, my body is very adept at reaching the physical state that is necessary to get through hibernation, first and foremost the gaining weight part!

Yup, piece of cake.

What do they say about the brown bear?

Preparations for over-wintering begin in the summer, when bears begin gorging carbohydrate-rich berries and other foods to put on weight. 

Ha! Here we go! I can certainly do gorging carbohydrate-rich foods (not exactly berries, but how about noodles, bread, potatoes?!?!) You could say I‘m a natural when it comes to that!

Then there‘s the nesting instinct. Definitely one I can also relate to. The colder it is outside, the more I strive to have it warm and cozy inside (preferably on the couch in front of the fireplace).

Throughout the fall the bear‘s activity level steadily drops until it ends completely when the bear enters its den.

 Uhm... yeah, well... taking a look at my own activity levels recently (does lazying on the couch count for activity?)...then I have to say „check“ on that one too. Now where‘s the den to sink into please? Hello? Anybody?

Thought so....

So, Houston, we have a problem!

What am I supposed to do now?

Stuff myself with even more comfort food until I have reached the proper proportions of a hibernating bear? And I‘m getting closer to that goal by the minute, people! Really, really close...

Flee the country to wherever it is warm and sunny now? Tempting... really, tempting, but a glimpse at my bank account scratches that off the list instantly.

Better try and convince my body then that hibernating is not the right strategy for us right now, especially with missing the part of sleeping through this ridiculously cold winter and waking up in spring, lithe and lissom!

Instead I will continue to dress up in 147 layers of clothes, put seven inches of Vaseline on my face several times a day, sleep in my UGGS boots and don my ski-mask whenever I go outside to braze the blustering wind that is biting through my skin like a thousand pins.

I will continue to kiss my TWINGO‘s steering wheel in gratitude whenever its engine is coming alive to take me to the office where my half-frozen, befuddled brain is trying hard to make sense of the many tasks that need to get done.

I will continue to drink gallons of tea and entertain the idea of taking a hot bath twice a day while waiting for my stiff fingers that are hovering over the keyboard to defrost.

(The good thing is, that the frozen features on my face give the impression of someone listening attentively when people stop by in my office to unload even more work on my desk.)

I will stop checking the thermometer for yet another lowest temperature record.

I will stop looking for polar bears!

(...even though I could swear there was one passing outside my window just now...)

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