10 January 2014

Days of our Lofts

Polar Vortex is a beautiful phrase, somewhat reminiscent of Polar Express, but with that lovely harsh V sound, as if that holiday train was manned by Vulcans, who almost certainly wouldn't dance while serving steaming hot cocoa. Neither would they believe in Santa, which is not a logical belief.

Polar Vortex was not an enjoyable thing to experience. "You've never experienced negative 40-degree wind chill," my mom informed me. "You don't want to experience it."

But as I sat in my third-floor loft as Monday morning crept by and the temperature slowly dropped, with no sense of when or if the power may return, I wondered if I may end up experiencing the vortex. I had been down to the first floor, which was the dark cold of Dante's Hell; it appeared the entire first floor had already evacuated. Where to, I did not know.

The power flicked back on slightly before noon, to my immense relief. As it stayed on for hours and with the heat cranked up to nearly 80 degrees Fahrenheit, I began to be curious about what negative 40-degree F wind chill felt like. Also, I wondered if I would be going to work the next day. I ventured out to assess the car situation and quickly discovered I did not, in fact, enjoy negative 40-degree wind chill. At that point, it was probably no longer quite that cold, but I never bothered to discover the true "feels like" temperature. I broke my ice scraper in the first five minutes and gave up, not venturing back out until the following evening, joining a mass of neighbors digging their cars out of snowy tombs.

I've since heard that the cold of the polar vortex was colder than highs in Antarctica, colder than Mars at the same time, too cold for the polar bear at the Chicago zoo. All I know is that my brief experience of the worst of the cold left my teeth aching for hours afterward.

On Wednesday, I managed to get to the office. Three days alone was too long for me; I expressed to friends and family that I was going to start writing soap operas based on the conversations happening in the hallway behind my loft if I spent one more day trapped in there alone.

I may be an introvert, but even introverts can only take so much imposed completely-alone time.