Remember that post I wrote about how the cold feels? That post I wrote yesterday? Well, I guess I tempted fate or something. Just really pissed off the cold with my “I got this” attitude. Here is a screen shot I took this morning.
I’m sorry…it feels like WHAT?!
So, yeah, I knew it was cold. But I dressed for it like I’m supposed to and went indoors and planned to just stay there like a good girl. Instead, at about 10 am, right in the middle of my 4th grade English class while Vivaldi was lulling them into a sleepy calm, the fire alarm went off. It was not a planned drill. We were woefully unprepared. We just had to go. Outside.
There were no jackets. There were no hats. And worst of all, there were no gloves. And lo, the weather roared a vengeful, “Screw You, Weenies!”
Kids were going outside in shirtsleeves and, in some really unfortunate parental decisions, even less clothing. Teachers were throwing their own coats around the shoulders of kids as they passed through the doors, but there were far more under-clad children than prepared adults. I’ll give the kids this, they aren’t dummies. Our poor group converged on the open tundra which is nothing more than a totally exposed wind-swirly of misery. When the classes got outside they immediately circled up and inward and closed ranks to protect themselves and each other. They looked like nothing so much as a group of penguins.
We were outside for two minutes or less. A teacher had a mishap while preparing her pancake breakfast party and it required no real attention more than getting the alarm turned off. However, that two minutes taught me the true meaning of a -35 windchill. I don’t have the words for how it felt. Not cold. Pure pain. Immediate pain. Kids were crying by the time we called them back to the door. They began to panic trying to get back in the school, forcing the teachers to hold the group back and let kids up one by one and two by two. It felt cruel but they would have trampled each other on the stairs they were so cold. When we reentered the building there was no immediate relief because it turns out that when you are that cold that quickly it just hurts to come back in the warmth. Everyone came in doubled over holding their heads and arms and hands. We were all purple. The cold felt hateful. It felt personal. It felt like it was on a mission to take out you and your whole family for daring to try to coexist with it. It was crazy.
Sergio told me later that there is a chart that shows how long you can stay outside in certain temperatures. A person exposed to today’s windchill can only last 12 minutes before frostbite begins to set in. I have zero trouble believing that chart.
You win, Cold. I will not underestimate you again.
Afterthought: Someone will probably wonder what would happen in the event of a real fire in these temperatures and the answer is that we would go to a secondary evacuation in which each hall takes refuge in one of the other district buildings. Our group would have walked across the playground to the elementary school. The More You Know!