January 6th, 2014

Cultural blind spot.

I grew up in an area where every winter, the temperature would, at some point, drop below zero and stay below zero, usually for several consecutive days.

When one of my housemates stated that if the temperature went to five below, she (of course!) would be calling in for work, I stared at her in confusion. My cultural reasoning was, after all, that with clear roads, cold is simply cold. Layer up, of course. Be outside at little as possible. But there is nothing in below zero temperatures that presents a non-remediable safety hazard to travel and work.

She pointed out that such things are relative. An inch of snow in Atlanta has people calling in and businesses closing.

And I realized there are both equipment and architectural considerations taken for granted in northern New England that just aren't true here. Not everyone has a plowing contract. No one has a trickle charger that they hook up to the car overnight to make sure it starts. Hell, the roof slants are lower, and garages are less common.

I'm more knowledgeable than I realized. I have a deep cold weather survival knowledge base that most people do not. Even if I don't use it, I have it. This makes me quietly happy.