The Polar Vortex: Reading The Subtext In Cold Weather Social Media UpdatesMary Traina

Right now, much of Canada and the United States are experiencing record-low temperatures. These temperatures and intense winds typically reside in the North Pole but some diva, high-pressure system in the Eastern Pacific is shoving them our way for the next few days. So get used hearing the term “Cerebral Cortex.” Sorry, “Polar Vortex.” Brain fart! My brain is thoroughly soaked in hot chocolate at this point.

Polar_Vortex_2014

These temperatures are very dangerous and just about everybody and their mom (especially their mom – you know moms) would advise you to stay indoors and, if you absolutely must go outside, layer up like the little boy from The Christmas Story.

In times like this, it’s important to look out for your neighbors. No, not by walking to their homes to check in. Are you crazy?* It’s a Polar Tampax out there! You’ll freeze! No. All I’m saying is; keep an eye on your neighbor’s social media status updates about the cold. Those can be very telling. Below, I’ve listed samples of the most common types of cold weather status messages and advised on how best to read their subtext. This should help you decipher to what degree (pun intended) this Cooler Tex-Mex has driven your friend insane.

“OMG!!!” (Accompanied by a screen grab of their weather app featuring low temperatures)

Your friend has not left the house yet. They have not experienced a thing – A THING. Total poser. Not only has the cold not driven them insane, they are probably still savvy enough to call off work and spend the day watching X-Files episodes in their jammy jams. The next picture they post will probably be of snow… as seen through their WINDOW. You’ll know by the faint outline of a screen in the foreground. The nerve!

“OMG!!!” (There is no accompanying picture because they know you know what they mean)

This person has been outside, experienced the cold and they want you to know they know what we all know. They are in on it. They experienced a short burst of adrenaline while running in frigid temperatures from their kitchen to their car and that adrenaline had nowhere to go but a status update. At least now you know you are not the only person who didn’t call off work today!

“Help! It IS possible to get your tongue frozen to a metal pole in cold temperatures! I’m at…” (They provide an address)

Listen. Your friend is still sane. Obviously. Their sense of humor is even intact! After all, they stopped to have a laugh using the ol’ freezing tongue trick. They are even with-it enough to send a message for help, which is good on them. But also… it’s too late for them. You know? They will be very cold very soon. And you? You are inside and warm. Comment “LOL,” then “share” with your local police department’s Facebook page and hope for the best.

“My dog thinks it’s too cold to poop outside!” (This might be the caption on a picture of a cold dog, looking up at the camera with sad, weary eyes)

This person has straight up lost it. I can’t help but imagine them all bundled up and warm in front of their half-naked, shivering puppy. I imagine this person is wearing an eye-patch and puffing on a cigar like a Bond villain, laughing maniacally at their dog’s discomfort. Someone who posts this is not normally a bad person but the weather has driven them to madness and only Batman can deal with them now.

“School is cancelled!!!”

At first glance, teachers and students may seem to have it all in the face of snow/cold days. But days off can be stressful. Their work is piling up and if they get too many impromptu days off, they’ll have to make them up in June while the rest of us frolic around in warm fields of sunflowers (as we do). Every snow day, 78% is a percentage I just made up for the amount of teachers and students who suffer from the Sunday Blues, anxiously anticipating the end of their snow/cold days. Teachers and students will need some time to mourn after the excitement of surprise days off has come and gone.

“When I was a kid in North Dakota, we played baseball in -40 degree weather and took baths in snow drifts.”

This tough guy or gal just wants to impress you. They are not insane, they are just taking advantage of the record-lows to show off their impressive fortitude in cold weather. Assume they have a crush on you and let them down easy in the comments section.

“I wish I could gather up status updates about cold weather and burn them for extra heat because there are so many of them and I would be warm thru April.”

This person wants to be part of the cold weather update frenzy but is too self-aware to do so freely. Their mental hang-ups span the seasons and transverse mountains. This is very common. Give them a hug when it’s warm again or share your Netflix account with them until the Molar Bowflex blows over.

So that about covers it! But what if you have a friend who has not said one peep about how cold it is on social media? How can you be sure they are okay? Poke them. There. We’ve finally found a use for that feature.

*seriously, though, take care of your neighbors, folks.

Featured image via quickmeme.com; body image via weather.com

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  1. I’m feeling so left out of this social media frenzy here in L.A. I don’t want to be an asshole and be like “oh it is so sunny and warm”….but it IS sunny and warm here. I guess I’ll just tweet about traffic….

    • oh dang! People posting pictures from places where it is warm… that’s a whole other category I left out haha. But now that you mention it… what is LA small talk exactly? “So how ’bout that traffic?” Instead of “how ’bout that weather?”

  2. Whoever came up with the color gradient for that map is an idiot. 20 and -10 are dern near the same color. After purple zero (-0) it should just keep getting darker and darker until the -20 areas are as black as the literal death that surrounds them.