As Chicago continues to dig itself out of deep snow and suffer record-breaking low temperatures, experts of every stripe are coming out of the woodwork to offer useful tips on how to survive the cold.
Take, for example, the question of what to call the whole experience. Meteorologists and media pundits have helpfully come up with a handy term for what’s happening: Polar Vortex.
Up until a few days ago, few had never heard of the term. As of today, however, it has 764 million hits on Google, and Al Roker, Carson Daley and Savannah Guthrie have said it 764 thousand times on the Today show.
Or how about social media? Like everything else, Chicago’s snow and brutal temperatures have become their own internet meme. In recent days, Twitter users have popularized the hashtag #ChiBeria for everything from complaining about waiting for delayed CTA trains to bitching about having to dig out their car.
Once your car is dug out, of course, you also need help in making sure that no poor slob without a shovel or basic manners takes advantage of your hard work. That’s why a plethora of websites and internet slideshows have sprung up in recent days showing how Chicagoans create “dibs”, or parking spot savers, for those too unimaginative to think on their own.
Of course, some commentators’ tips are actually very much needed. Recently, the Doings of Clarendon Hills newspaper offered this critical advice from local resident Dr. Mark Moy:
Moy also suggested not turning to alcoholic beverages when it comes to trying to keep warm when it’s very cold outside
“Alcohol makes you feel warm, but it actually causes you to loose more body heat,” he said.
Today, the Associated Press found two additional storeis on how to deal with the cold.
In one, an Illinois psychiatrist says the health risks associated with the frigid weather include depression for people already susceptible to it.
Loyola University Medical Center psychiatrist Dr. Angelos Halaris (HAH'-leh-ris) says the letdown after the holidays and winter's shorter daylight hours leave some people mentally and physically exhausted. Pile on subzero temperatures and they may find their feelings of hopelessness increasing.
In the other, the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association is offering tips for pet owners to protect their dogs and cats during severe winter weather.
In a press release Monday, the association says the recent low temperatures and dangerous wind chills pose challenges for pet owners.
They say the most sensible action is to keep cats indoors and to monitor dogs for signs they're being negatively impacted by the cold.
So, at the risk of being presumptuous, let me join the growing chorus of experts weighing in on how to deal with the Chiberian Polar Vortex Snowpocalypse:
If you find yourself depressed by the winter weather and need to go to the store for some beer or vodka as a little pick me up, and you have to dig out your car to get there, and you don't want anyone to take your space but don't know what to put in it’s place as dibs, don’t use your pet.
But, if you do, here’s one more tip:
I checked—both #frozenfido and #petsasdibs are still available on Twitter.