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Winter weather wish: Mean or mild?

OPINION

  • With a high of 70 degrees, it was shorts weather Monday in Chicago.
With a high of 70 degrees, it was shorts weather Monday in Chicago. (Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune )
December 04, 2012|By Zach Stafford and Alex Quigley | For RedEye

The setup: The official start of winter is only two weeks away, yet Monday's high temperature in Chicago was 70 degrees. Not everyone's so thrilled about the lack of snowflakes.

MEAN

A Chicago winter without cold weather and snow is like Betty White at a Ke$ha show: It's barren, awkward and out of place.

I miss snow. I walk past megawatt-level holiday light displays every day, and the dull reflection of an LED snowman off a damp patch of brownish-green grass is depressing. No one dreams of a brownish-green Christmas. And that's why I'm rooting for Snowmageddon 2: Gas-Powered Snowblower Boogaloo. Lake effect me. Lake effect me hard.

Chicagoans need to hunker down for a couple of months; it's an essential part of the shared experience. Without a terrible winter to suffer through, we won't appreciate spring. You know the awesomeness of that first 50-degree day in March? T-shirt and shorts weather! But that won't matter if it's 49 degrees all January—you'll just be another dude or chick showing way too much pale skin.

Zach Stafford is from Tennessee, so I understand why he loves the idea of 70-degree December days. That's not the Chicago Way. I bet he's never built a snow fort, stacked a pyramid of perfectly spherical snowballs and just waited for the signal to unleash parabolic arcs of frozen fury on stupid Billy Johnson.

It's an old Chicago saying, but it's true: The only thing that keeps this city from being an overpopulated mess is our winters. Weeds out the weak, you see? And without 20-inch blizzards, 60-below wind chills and entire weeks with high temps in the single digits ... we'd become New York. Do you want that? Hell, no. Welcome the snow. Embrace your heritage. Man and woman up. RedEye special contributor Alex Quigley can be heard on 720 WGN Radio. @alexquigley

MILD

There are two major events scheduled for Dec. 21: the start of winter and the end of the Mayan calendar (or, I should say, THE END OF THE WORLD!).

I don't know which is worse, especially in the context of Chicago winters. As a transplant going on five years in the Windy City, I still am not used to all of this cold weather and winters that last up until the spring months.

I moved to Chicago because I wanted to enjoy the city—and by "enjoy," I don't mean hibernating for weeks at a time under blankets in my apartment. I came here for the lake, the attractions, the electric nightlife and so many other things that lie outside the confines of my apartment. All these things cease to exist—or no one wants to partake in them—when it's so cold outside that you're afraid of blowing your nose because icicles might fly out.

Last year's winter was great with its unseasonably warm temperatures. It allowed us as Chicagoans to continue loving our great city from December all the way through early April: months when we tend to neglect our appreciation for this place.

If we have another mild winter, we can take more steps toward loving Chicago constantly instead of just being Chicago's No. 1 fan when we can drink on bar patios.

And if the Mayans are correct, I want Armageddon to be a cool 60 degrees and not a freezing 30 below. A coat will just get in the way when the demons attack. Zach Stafford is a RedEye special contributor. @zachstafford

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