In a conversation that was, statistically speaking, shared word for word by nearly 25 million other Canadians at some point today, a stranger/bus driver/cashier/co-worker/family member/fellow commuter/neighbour nodded towards the grey sky and said:
“Supposed to get about 5-10 centimetres of snow tonight.” Which would be fine, except you had just checked your weather app not 15 seconds earlier, and thus knew this to be an unfettered lie. Lie. Lie.
“Oh really?” you asked, raising one eyebrow to warn the other that you are not a person that messes around when it comes to the casual dissemination of meteorological information. “I believe we’re actually expecting closer to 15 centimetres. Possibly as much as 20, down by the lake.”
You then averted your knowing gaze, embarrassed for this woefully underprepared rube, and quietly grateful that you were just in the right place at the right time to save them from drastically underestimating the accretion of snow in the overnight hours.
They looked at you, clearly not understanding how close they’d come to wearing the wrong height boots, and changed the subject.
“Right. Yeah. I heard it could down to as low -19.”
You’d waited for the required corollary. Astoundingly it hadn’t come. They seemed to have nothing further to offer. And the awful truth became as clear as a frozen Winnipeg night. This was one of those primitive Canadians you’d heard still existed in isolated tribes, mostly on the west coast, who somehow live without allowing for the windchill.
“But minus 30. With the WINDchill,” you’d said, saying the last word loudly enough to startle a nearby flock of late-departing Canadian geese into finally leaving for Florida. Exposed skin freezing in less than 2 minutes and that weather novice was just rolling around not even accounting for the impact of air velocity on one’s rate of heat loss.
“Yeah,” they’d said, and for a moment – surely just as a trick of the low-setting winter sun catching in their eyes – they had almost appeared to be giving you a look. And not one of gratitude for your timely, accurate, and potentially live-savingly specific data.
“Well. Stay warm out there,” the alleged Canadian said, furrowing their eyebrows in submission.
“Oh I will,” you replied, wanting to add, “Because my jacket is rated to -40, I parked in the lee of this building, and at precisely 4:45 PM my furnace began heating my home to a pleasant 21.5 degrees Celsius.” But you didn’t. Instead you just threw a gift over your shoulder as you parted ways.
“It’s going down to -42 on Friday. With the windchill.”