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Hard times in New York Town

Heure du décès, 14h04. Cause probable : hypothermie.

The spy who came from the cold


You knew it would be cold.

You had seen the pictures of cars covered with snow.

You had read the French newspapers, where every year lazy interns copy-paste the same article entitled “a cold wave hit Big Apple yesterday evening”.

You had listened to people coming back from New York in February and talking about the winter like survivors of a Wolfgang Petersen movie. 

You were always shaking your head like a stupid little prick when you heard it was unbearable.

You thought you could survive the winters.

You couldn’t.

You would find out that the semantics doesn’t lie. The cold does have something to do with being devoured. The cold does bite, sting, penetrate, burn and finally eat you alive.

You would find out that unlike new-yorkers, you did not belong to the superior race of those who can survive the winter. Rightly or wrongly, you would infer that americans are super-humans (or their parkas super-parkas).

For months, the sound of Nayla, almost fainting of cold in her stroller and whining “mom, I am cold” would break your heart. 

For months, you would pronounce only vowels. Below 0°C, your body would be unwilling to articulate consonants. You would then notice that without consonants, nobody understands French but English is still pretty OK. You would talk about this, but strangely enough, no-one would find this as interesting as you.

You didn’t know that on an April 5th, you would simply burst into tears watching a quiet and delicate snow storm outside of your window.

You didn’t know about “snow days”, where all schools are closed and parents are supposed to keep their kids all day long. You would have to keep your two daughters for endless days half of February. You would still have to pay for a whole month at daycare. You would consider trying to apply a “cold pro-rata”. 

You didn’t know that on snow days, companies would send their employees stupid and paranoid emails. Like “beware, do not take the car if there is a snow storm, buy groceries before the storm”.

You didn’t know you would call your mother every day with updates on the weather. But you could have known that she wouldn’t listen.

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