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The Weathered Minnesotan

By: Nicholas Cox

I’m going to talk about the weather. It’s an all-too-frequent conversational topic lately; but don’t kid yourself- you love it. And if you don’t, please look deep down and really consider your Minnesotanhood. Check the state rankings of per capita smartphone weather app downloads- Minnesota tops every list (citation needed). If you’ve got less than three different weather apps on your phone, good luck making any friends here.

I’m going to talk about the weather because it surrounds my workplace. I’ve heard about your workplace: the chipper coworker in the cube adjacent, the constant flickering of the light that needs to be replaced, that draft when someone enters the room, the guy who sets the thermostat two degrees above your version of “room temperature”, and the dreadful sweater-on or sweater-off purgatory that those two degrees induce.

Room temperature doesn’t exist outside of a room. Today I spent the day in the forest, panting and perspiring in a t-shirt, yet I fully expect to wear a stocking cap and long johns on the first day of May- talk about sweater-on sweater-off. The lighting in my workplace flickers day in and day out, and its intensity has burned my neck leathery, outlining the collar of my winter jacket. The drafts in my office seem to come from nowhere, and attempt to carry flames from our prescribed burn and ignite the nearby forest. My lunches were never as warm as I wanted them to be on 20 degree days, but the food was uncomfortably hot as the sun beat down on me this afternoon. It’s hard to enjoy any peace and quiet on my breaks; the infectious human-borne disease known as “The Mondays” has not yet made the leap to avian species. Those ever-chirping birds seem to think that it’s spring- I’ll believe it when I see a forecast vacant of white flakes.

Oh, I’m not complaining. I’ve never enjoyed such an awesome workplace. Snow covered branches are inspiringly beautiful even in the final weeks of April. A moment of the sun’s warmth provides the fuel to keep working through a cold and dreary afternoon in March. The birds have been chattering for weeks now, and their persistence is finally convincing me that spring is around the corner. This was reinforced as I saw a handful of trees had broken their buds in Sand Dunes state forest this afternoon.

The weather is a consistently interesting topic in Minnesota because we get to experience so much of it.  I’m extremely fortunate to spend my workdays experiencing the weather. If you contentedly spend your workday indoors, I encourage you to get outside whenever you can and experience the weather. Soak up the 70 degree sun tomorrow. Go for a short walk on a frigid May afternoon at the end of this week. Abandon the air conditioning and head to the beach on a humid August morning. I bet you’ll discover that you are pretty Minnesotan after all.