I confess: I HATE the cold. Winter is definitely my season of discontent. As summer gives way to fall and fall ticks down to the inevitability of winter, I give new meaning to the term: “hunker down”. Having said that, I was born and raised in Edmonton and, apart from a few years in Vancouver, I’ve lived through, dealt with, dug out of, shivered through, and, yes, despised, more Edmonton winters than I care to remember. Still, as the old saying goes: “It builds character!”. I believe that. I also believe the cold can build community.
While winters aren’t conducive to inviting your neighbours over for a BBQ on the deck, the frigid cold has a way of bringing people closer together. Who out there can’t say they’ve shared a “cold enough for ya?” conversation with a neighbour, even a stranger, while out shoveling, cathching the bus, or riding the elevator up to the office? It becomes a sort of “frigid fraternity” – no sexism intended – as people deal with the cold they also find ways to commiserate with others about it.
These days, it’s not always face-to-face. Now, when the temperature plummets, the frozen folks turn to social media to express their cold discomfort in myriad creative ways. This evokes many emotions in others. Some are sympathetic but in many cases, especially from those living in warmer climates, it’s ridicule. Still, that’s okay! Social media, in all its variations, has for many become the new neighborhood, one that reaches around the world. So, bring on the cold. We’ll always (it seems) have multiple memes to warm our hearts, at least.