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It's just cold

This past weekend was our coldest of the year so far and I'm hoping this will be it for the deep cold. I of course was loading and unloading moving trucks so I had to be out in it. I think people who report the weather should not even tell us when the outside temp is below zero. Because really, it's humanly impossible to tell the difference between -5 and -20 so that whole thing with the windchill is a moot point. It's not like you go outside and say "it feels like -20 out here, I wish it would warm up to -5!" They should just say temps are below 0 and be done with it.

The only appreciable difference between 0 degrees and the minus temps is how fast your flesh would freeze if totally exposed and at that point you wouldn't care what the actual temp was.

For the record, the coldest temperature I've ever experienced was -56 with no windchill factor. It was a clear day in the winter of 1987/88. There was some snow on the gound and I was living in a run down trailer outside Alamosa, Colorado where I was going to college. The national news weatherman (probably Willard Scott) announced that "Alamosa, Colorado has the Nation's low temperature of -56."

Adam's State College cancelled classes despite having all roads clear for travel because they didn't want people breathing too deep and freezing their lungs. So my wife and I sat in the house by the wood stove all day and occasionally wandered out on the porch to run experiments. We threw a stadium cup of water up in the air and the water turned to ice before it hit the ground. We tried the same thing with a cup of boiling water and the steam turned to something like snow. We set a five gallon bucket of water outside and it froze solid in less than ten minutes. The lady next door let her dachshund out to pee and the pee froze as soon as it hit the tree. Then it's poor little paws froze to the ground and we had to go out and put spatulas under it's paws to pry it loose.

Last night when I was travelling home from work down I-55, I exited to the Weber Rd ramp and stopped at the light. There was a homeless man there and my heart just about broke. He had a coat and gloves but was just wearing jeans and his shoes were not the best. It was -25 or lower with the windchill for the record. I beckoned him over and gave him what I had in my pockets which did not amount to much. Seeing that, other people started to roll down their windows and hand him some cash. When he took my cash he thanked me and called me "Sir". I hope he got enough to maybe get a hotel room for the night. As I drove off, I felt bad for having so much when some people have so little. I wish I could have done more for him.




( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 7th, 2007 12:04 am (UTC)
You did a lot for the homeless man. If I had come across him first, honestly, with being a woman and being alone, I would not have stopped. You never know what people are okay and who are dangerous.

Several years ago just off of the exit ramp from the I-64, on highway 161 which is a well kept secondary road there was a man in a car with his hood up.
He stepped out into my lane and attempted to flag me down. I was alone and scared and didn't stop. The man slammed his hood down, jumped in his car and managed to catch up with me. Of course I didn't go home. I drove to the police station and the guy went on.
Feb. 7th, 2007 01:59 am (UTC)
I'm generally pretty choosy about who I give things to. I want to see if they really are homeless or just panhandling. But given this was an out of the way exit ramp and the wind was howling and it was so cold out, I figured the panhandlers would have all gone home for the day. Sunday afternoon, driving from Joliet to Peoria, we saw a guy walking backwards down the road just trying to keep his back to the wind. Sunday was a day your flesh would freeze pretty quickly. I told Deb that if she wasn't with me, I'd have picked him up and at least taken him to the nearest truck stop and bought him a hot meal. I've been in desperate situations before and strangers helped me out. Figured I could do the same.

Feb. 7th, 2007 03:19 am (UTC)
I understand. There have been times that although I'm afraid to stop for a someone with car trouble that I have called 911 and given the location and let them know the person needed help.
Feb. 7th, 2007 04:38 am (UTC)
Because really, it's humanly impossible to tell the difference between -5 and -20 so that whole thing with the windchill is a moot point. [..]They should just say temps are below 0 and be done with it.

Our society is more concerned with science than with soul.

Regarding the homeless man and guilt... I have never and will never feel guilty for what I've earned, nor for the good fortune that has come my way. I wish everyone felt that way: Proud of what they've earned, and grateful for the lucky breaks. I think more of them would if they habitually acted, as you have done, with thought and compassion.
Feb. 7th, 2007 12:54 pm (UTC)

Feb. 7th, 2007 04:57 am (UTC)
That was very nice of you!

I never stop. A murderer tried to get in my car once. In broad daylight. He was in the middle of the road hitchhiking. It wasn't a highway, but a regular 2 lane street. He didn't have a shirt on, just some orange pants. I caught the red light and stopped near him. My window was rolled down a crack, I didn't motion to him or anything. He walked over to my car and tried to stick his hand through the crack. At the time, I was more surprised then scared and told him "get your hand out of my car!" I then rolled the window up, he had to either remove his hand or get his fingers crushed. I drove off really fast and called 911 to report it.

The next day his picture was in the paper. He had escaped from one of the correctional facilities up the northway. The orange pants were part of the uniform. He'd been in for murder and a statewide manhunt had been on for him. I don't know if my phone call was what got him caught or not as they caught him away from where he was when I saw him, but now I'm willing to dial 911 for someone stranded..but nothing else.
Feb. 7th, 2007 12:56 pm (UTC)
Yeah it's unfortunate that criminals latch on to any means to take advantage of people. especially when it means that people in genuine need don't get the help they need.

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


Wander aka StoneBear
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