Arctic air in the city

Chicago experienced some of the coldest days in history last week and you could tell, that even for a city that is used to strong winters, a temperature of down to minus 50 degrees Celsius was completely unusual. And very unique to us as well. Most of Chicago’s public life came to a complete standstill. Trains stopped running, schools closed for a few days, and companies told their employees to stay at home. Funny enough, a few bars opened up during the day for party, food and drinks for those who were unable to go to work.   

We probably belonged to the minority of Chicagoans who, regardless of the freezing temperatures, kept on doing what we were doing. It had less to do with the fact that we were ignorant to the situation. I was simply scheduled to attend a training in one of the Western suburbs, that had cost me a couple thousand dollars to sign up for and which by no means I could miss. Looking back, this might have been a bit naïve, I must admit.

My husband was so kind to have me carpool with him on his regular way to work – adding a 30min detour to his daily commute, thank you hubby – so neither of us would be alone if something happened to the car on the way. We put on numerous layers of clothes, left awfully early just in case and made sure the fuel tank was full to avoid condensation and freezing of the fuel lines.

The roads were almost empty (no wonder, with us being the only fools driving around in this cold) and the only real trouble we experienced was that due to the freezing temperatures, our car’s navigation system stopped operating properly. We tried to keep the time we spent outside to an absolute minimum (few seconds or so) and covered our nose and mouth on our way to and from the car. It really was bitterly cold, and one could literally feel the tension on the skin and the pain in the lungs from breathing. But thankfully, everything worked out fine.

Leaving the house not only allowed me to successfully complete my training, it also gave me some insight into how the locals are dealing with the cold. I identified three categories of real Chicagoans:

Group one would be totally chilled and confident that everything will be okay. For this group of people, life would continue as usual, with hats and gloves being completely overrated.

Group two would be slightly nervous and taking extra caution, but not spending too much time worrying. My husband and I might belong to this category (he would not admit that, but I think that is where we belong ;-)).

Group three would be in panic mode. These folks would bring a bag packed with extra clothes along with them, in case they get stranded somewhere for the night. They might also remove the battery from the car whilst the car is parked, in order to keep it warm and put it back in when ready to drive again. You would also see them turn on the engine of the car every now and then (which by the way for some models can be done remotely via an App, how cool is that) and have it run for a minimum of ten minutes, hoping that the car will as easily start when they want to head home.

As I am writing these lines, temperatures have fortunately risen again to above 0 degrees Celsius, which suddenly feels a bit like Spring. It is time to remove gloves and hat and to celebrate my newly attained certification as Practitioner for the MBTI, a personality type assessment tool. If you are interested in taking the MBTI and feel like wanting to be one of my guinea pigs while I keep practicing, reach out to me and we will figure something out.

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