If not for the unrelenting onslaught of Columbus winter, I would be without one of my all-time favorite memories.
Last New Year’s Eve, the first I shared with my girlfriend, we spent the end of the night walking home in the middle of a Victorian Village street, the snow and ice enveloping the area and rendering traffic non-existent. The typical symphony of city noises muffled by the cover, we slipped and slid together in a near-perfect silence, only punctuated by our own laughter.
Oh, and hiccups. I drank a LOT of champagne.
I relay that story not to brag about a romantic moment, but to say that as much as we bemoan the seemingly constant terror of our city’s cold-month weather, it’s inextricable from the profile of Columbus living. In fact, I would venture to say that without those icy cobblestones and snow-covered trees, that story isn’t nearly as sweet sounding. If that NYE had taken place in San Diego, I’m just a stumbling, drunk asshole with a better tan. In Columbus, it’s kind of a magical moment.
My point: Columbus is better, because for part of the year, it’s horribly shitty.
I know that sounds insane. Right now, I’m fighting a cold, sitting in front of a window that has six inches of snow crashing against it, and there is only roughly a 15-minute period right before I fall asleep, and right when I wake up, that I can actually feel all of my toes. And I still kind of love it. I think it’s just something you learn to appreciate over time, if not for any other reason than the way it contextualizes our experience here. Wherever you are reading this right now – snowed in at a coffee shop, waiting on a tow truck, whatever – close your eyes and think into the nearby future….
Think about that first day of Columbus Spring, about how euphoric it feels when the sun comes out early and stays late. All the local bars rip the shackles off their dormant patio spaces and everyone, in shorts and tank tops, frankly just kind of loses their shit for a little bit.
You know the day I’m talking about. For those of us who grew up in Ohio, it’s happened once a year every year since we were born (and most often, that first day of returned warmth is only an unofficial start to spring, as it tends to snow again almost immediately after that seemingly great thaw).
But, it’s a glorious day nonetheless. And we would never feel that glory if it was just raining Skittles all over High Street every day of the week.
Nope. In Columbus, we earn that glory, by facing down the brutal winter, giving it a kick in the frozen ‘nads with some good-old fashioned practical preppin’ – and not that crazy end-of-the-world nonsense. This month’s cover story (page 60) is your handy almanac, full of products and procedures to get you through one of the harshest winters on record.
It’s all the stuff your daddy taught ya – and you won’t have to text him for a refresher. (Which is helpful in case your power’s out and your phone’s dead).
Yes, it’s time to embrace the winter-y legacy of Columbus winter, kids. Besides, we have it much better than our folks: 35 years ago, they blasted their way through the Blizzard of 1978 (and with enough gas left in the tank to procreate, thankfully).
Man, that must have been one helluva first day of spring.
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