The big story around here, of course, continues to be the weather, as the polar vortex circles ever deeper south.
These days, ‘How are you doing?’ is inevitably followed by, ‘Oh, just trying to stay warm.’
When it’s this cold out though, few places stay really warm.
Only in America and a few other privileged places in the world do people expect 72 degree temperatures year round. We take our modern conveniences for granted.
But you know something? It helps if we dress for the weather.
The other night at the Kentucky Press Association banquet, I noticed a woman in line–at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington, mind you–wearing sandals, a skirt and no hose. Her legs and feet were “red as a beet” from the cold, which is not at all surprising, considering the temperature was about 15 degrees outside.
The woman didn’t appear to be hungry or destitute. Maybe she just forgot to check the weather forecast before she left her house, but how could you not know that it’s cold outside?
Many of us live and work in large drafty buildings, but if we pile on plenty of clothes we’ll be okay. It’s those who have to work outside during the coldest days and nights that I feel for. Not only are they dealing with frigid temperatures, but they’re sometimes forced to put up with rude and irate customers.
Now I’m sure the majority of folks are understanding and patient, but it’s the few who aren’t who can make a miserable day more miserable.
My husband is one of those outside a lot, because he delivers propane. Since the word “shortage” made the news lately, gas companies have been flooded with calls.
While it isn’t a bad idea to get orders in early, a few customers apparently think they are the only ones who matter.
It’s not uncommon for some “desperate” individual to call and demand gas, and when the serviceman goes to fill the order, they find they’ve got half a tank or more. If you ask me, that’s just greedy and inconsiderate.
I have a brother who works for Jackson Energy, and another who works for the state highway department. Those types of services catch a lot of flak too.
People often complain because their power isn’t back on as fast as they think it ought to be, or the gas tank isn’t getting filled fast enough, or their roads aren’t cleared to suit them.
Sure, these problems are an inconvenience, but can you imagine having to go out and work in that?
Besides, most of those crews are doing everything they can to meet needs. Sometimes we just have to be patient.
On one of those coldest nights last week, I couldn’t wait to get home from work to hibernate for the evening. I turned into my drive to find my brother and some of his co-workers high on a hill above my house repairing an electric line in zero- degree weather.
It was dark and miserable and windy out, but one of them was 30 feet in the air on a pole. I was able to go into my brightly-lit home, change into my fleece pajamas and relax because of the efforts of these guys. There’s no telling what time they got in bed.
Here’s another thing: During that small blizzard last weekend, I heard of some folks grumbling that “they haven’t touched my road.”
In some cases maybe they hadn’t, but when the wind is blowing 30 miles an hour, it can look like the roads haven’t been touched within minutes after they’re scraped.
I know for a fact the road crews are often called on to leave the warmth of their homes at midnight or three in the morning to go clear and salt roads for twelve hour shifts.
How about we show our service workers some appreciation during this brutal cold? Maybe share a pot of coffee or a cup of hot cocoa with them if opportunity arises?
Winter will pass much more quickly for all of us if we do.