Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Breed Apart...

OK lemme set this up...

First, you GOTTA roll over to D2D's site today and read her historical account of rattling around wintertime Alaska in her early married years...and that's just one yarn, i've heard a few others...classics all. It blows this little ditty away...Anyway, this was my reply to her post and thought it was a cheap way get my post in today...and hey, this story shouldn't languish in the "Comment" bin anyway...



How did i miss that story over Squaw candy and pilot bread??? THAT was coool!! i was riveted. by the way, next time you need wind chill figgered...go here.

"...while idling in sub zero temps"

92* BELOW!!! that would be the windchill at those conditions! So, now i'm wondering...what kind of gear protects you from THAT??? Don't your eyelids freeze in a permanently open position in like 3.7 seconds? I mean, i'm thinking peeing on your shoes would be no big deal since it would just break apart by the time it hit!

This reminds me of a scenario that played out in my cab early one January morning about 6 or 7 years ago...

(Queue the rushing wind noise)

I had gotten up early and headed out trying to get a few fares before heading to the airport. I was freezing...it was 19* with a 10-20 mph wind (I know, nothing compared to yours...but wait for it)and you know the humidity factors in here...giving the wind TEETH. Anyway, i hear this radio request for a fare going to work, i'm pretty close so i make the call to pick him up. I roll up to this apartment complex, and i think i called dispatch to phone him and let him know i was there, cuz i was NOT getting out.

OK at this point i should frame this up a little bit. Its about 5:30 in the morning, i've already mentioned the cold, and the wind, and i'm sitting in my car... the heater blowing blue flames. i got my ski parka, ski hat, and muffler wrapped like a noose around my neck AND I'M STILL COLD! So, dispatch calls and says, "He'll be right out." Sweet, the sooner i get this baby rolling the hotter the flames get. I'm all eyes on the sidewalk in front of me interrogating ANY movement.

Now, when i say this dude strolled out...i mean LEISURELY...like it was a late spring morning whistling Song of the South through the azalea's! Oh, i failed to mention, he was dressed in 70's style cut off jean shorts, a tee shirt, and his work boots. Nnno, hhhe wwwasn't ccccaarrrrying a coat either, just his lunch, brown baggin'. He opens the door takes one last puff on his cigarette, and flicks it away, "SHUT THE FREAKIN' DOOR!!!!!" i wanted to scream, but all i could manage when he sat down was...."DddUDE...what the...its freaking 20* out there!"

He smiles, and says, "What? What do you mean?"

Incredulous...i respond, "Bro...ITS COLD!!!!"

He kinda snorts with a laugh and says, "This ain't cold..."

and just left it hang there like a salmon egg in front of a trout...i bit. "the heck are you talkin' about...its freeezin!!!

Again, the same look..."this ain't cold, i grew up in the Outer Banks Alaska...this is like summertime to me. In the winters we would get a hundred FEET of snow in a few weeks, it would get down to 70-80 below with winds of 60-70-80 mph. We would bring the dogs in just to give them water because at that temperature it froze instantly, but we would put them right back out so they wouldn't overheat. When we called them,we couldn't see'em, they would just emerge out of the snow. My grandpa is a full blood Eskimo he says they get out and roll naked in the first couple snows of the year to help condition their bodies and skin closing up their pores for the winter..."

He went on and on, at one point he said, "Yeah, my kids go outside here when its around 30-32* with no shoes and no shirts on and i can't tell you how many times the neighbors have called DHS on us. They get there and i have to explain to them this is like summertime where they grew up. Now, they just tell the neighbors not to worry about it." it was so interesting i forgot how cold i was. I got him to work and he hops out and continued his leisurely stroll to the front door...i think he drove a forklift in the warehouse, so it wasn't getting much warmer that day for him...he wasn't lyin'.

He still ranks as one of the top 10 most interesting fares i had.

Alaskans...they're a breed apart.

8 comments:

Bag Blog said...

Should I copy and paste my comment that I made to your comment over at D2D's blog on here?

The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

it is certainly applicable.

Dawn said...

still a great story, even after the second time read :) I especially like the part where the neighbors call the DHS and his explanation, I so could have used that one when we first moved down and Deb kept pulling her clothes off in the back yard across from the feed store at the age of 3.

Anonymous said...

..... no joke, Alaskans are amazing...... I spent some time up in the Aleutians (where the only native Alaskan mammal was a sea otter).... mainland Alaska is beautiful..... but the Aleutians are basically just moss-covered rocks off the coast of Siberia.....

Eric

The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

"just moss-covered rocks off the coast..."

Sounds like the Hebrides off Scotland...which i plan to visit most of one of these days.

Buck said...

I dodged a bullet back in 1977. I was on orders for Cape Newenham AFS, AK, but got diverted to Fortuna AFS, ND, instead. Fortuna taught me ALL I need to know about cold. Alaska is colder, true. But you reach a point where there's little or no difference between -35 F and -(anything lower).

I've seen -35F and lower, absolute... not wind chill. NEVER AGAIN, thankyouverymuch.

Ashley said...

I am a mountain girl. I used to play outside when it was 20˚. Not anymore Oklahoma cold is COLD! 40˚ I have a thick jacket on. Dry cold is not as cold as wet cold. Brrrrr

Larry and Debbie Crutcher said...

Greetings from the sunny Southwest. Yesterdays high was 68 degrees with plenty of sunshine. Ahh, I remember those cold icy/snowy Oklahoma days. I agree with Buck's comment about temperature but on the flip side, anything over 100 degrees there's not much difference.