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Ohio winter weather – it could be worse

Mitch Andrews / Lantern photographer

Punxsutawney Phil peeked out his hole Wednesday and noticed he was surrounded by snow and ice. His only thought: “At least I don’t go to Ohio State.”

Then he crawled back into bed.

OSU students did not have that luxury. Despite most other schools in Ohio closing, we were forced to trudge through the slick alleys and sidewalks and attend classes, grumbling along the way.

It is understandable why much of our attention recently has centered on how nasty the weather has been. Walking through a parking lot made of glass, against a headwind that could push back Homer Simpson’s hairline, can make it feel like you are down two strikes before even stepping into the batter’s box.

But behind our misery and despair, I think, lies respect and appreciation. The truth about winter weather in Ohio is that nobody hates it as much as they say they do.

This is especially true for the media. I think they actually prayed for the conditions we saw last week. It provided them with not only hundreds of stories, but ones that people actually wanted to pay attention to.

College students also feel affection for bad weather, primarily because it gives us hope that classes might be canceled. Despite OSU’s reluctance to shut down, nothing gets a student’s attention faster than a winter weather advisory.

Additionally, it gives us a chance to revisit our childhoods. Last week, in an act of unprecedented maturity, I ventured outside in search of slippery sidewalks, but was disappointed to find mostly slush.

Bad weather also provides us a common enemy. It is comforting to know that everyone you pass on the sidewalk is just as miserable as you. No matter how divided we are about other things, we can all hate the weather. Or at least pretend to.

Some use it as an opportunity to express stupidity — I mean toughness. Regardless of the wind chill, you will always see at least a handful of people wearing shorts. I once saw such a man and initially thought he was immune to the cold, but soon thought otherwise after seeing that his body was vibrating like a cell phone.

Similar are those who come to OSU from colder climates. Again, it doesn’t matter how nippy it gets outside. They will say something like, “You think this is bad? Where I come from, we walk on skates … in the living room!”

We use every available opportunity to talk about weather. People swap tales about how they fell in the McDonald’s parking lot and narrowly escaped being towed. Voices abound unite to analyze why classes were not canceled. And Facebook briefly turns into the Anecdotal Weather Service.

The best part about Ohio winters, however, is that it gives us something to look forward to. We know that, sooner or later, things will begin thawing—including our bones — and that spring is fast approaching. And when that day arrives, we will appreciate not having to tolerate winter any longer.

It doesn’t take much, either. I was thrilled two weeks ago when the temperature reached a sizzling 36 degrees.


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