Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Opinion

March 7, 2014

Harsh truths about a harsh winter

Inspired by the Olympics, I went tubing for the first time at Perfect North Slopes at the tail end of February, simultaneously the shortest and longest month.

I never would have done it myself, but my Little Sister wanted to go. (I have got to be the oldest Big Sister in the history of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati.)

My friend Angela Buchman told me it could be as low as 0 degrees, so I became the Queen of Layering: tights, two pairs of sweatpants (it is possible), boots, turtleneck, fleece, winter coat with hood, scarf, hat, gloves and mittens. It turned out to be 26 degrees so I did not get frostbite.

On my first run, amazed at the speed, I had a moment of panic until I hypnotized myself into believing I was on an inner tube at King’s Island’s lazy river. I am not a daredevil, but there I was doing my version of the Olympics luge category.

Most tubers went to the runs on the left of the gigantic conveyor belt that transported us to the top, but after awhile we decided to try the ones on the right, not understanding the distinction between Super and Express. Super is code for smooth and Express means bumpy and terrifying. On Express, you catch air.

This has been one wacky winter. I made the mistake of going to Costco the day before the Super Bowl. The lines at the gas pumps were so long it looked like this was the only fuel to be had in Indy. Inside the store was even worse with 40-minute lines at the checkouts. I dawdled, hoping shoppers would be gone by the time I was ready to pay, but it was still the most congested ever. I was waiting for fights to break out around the food sampling tables. Employees said this was the record, with more bodies than just before Thanksgiving or Christmas. Why? Folks weren’t just buying game food. This Saturday was in between two winter storms. Shoppers were crazed with cabin fever and purchasing enough provisions to last for weeks.

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