For most people, talking about the weather is a necessary evil, a last-ditch attempt to make conversation with someone you wish didn’t know you existed, like your significant other’s co-workers or a creepy Tinder date.
But in Iowa, it’s a way of life. How could it not be, when each day brings with it a meteorological surprise, like eight inches of sleet or 99.999 percent humidity? Going on about the weather to everyone you meet is equal parts coping mechanism and survival tactic.
This is especially true during winter, when our fair burg becomes a frigid, unforgiving tundra, hostile to all life. Fear not! Because I care about the well-being of my readers (and every time I see one of you people wearing basketball shorts it shaves a day off my lifespan) I present my official guide to surviving the last few weeks of an Iowa winter.
1. Glue tacks to the soles of your boots. This trick helps me navigate the black ice covering every square inch of pavement between my house and office. Apparently, some people think the city ordinance requiring them to shovel their sidewalks is just a suggestion.
2. A good source of internal warmth is coffee. Take some with you everywhere you go. When you run out, get thee to the Java House. If someone tries to take it away from you, bite them.
3. Wear layers. When the temperature is this unpredictable, it’s the best way to stay comfortable. Or, wear a tank top under a puffer coat. What do I know? I’m just your mo- I mean, a humor columnist.
4. You’ll have to take off your sweatpants eventually, and when you do, what’s underneath may terrify you. Consider signing up for some hot yoga classes. If you’re like me, that would be like pouring a glass of water on a house fire, but you know what they say: “If you can’t tone it, tan it.” Don’t be intimidated by the mob of sorority girls camped outside the tanning salon in the Old Capitol Mall. Who knows, you might even make some friends.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 259.