I'm watching snow being blown off the roof of the building across the street. It's unnerving because it warns of the -33 degree windchill outside. I know I'm dressed well enough to stand at the bus stop for at least ten minutes before I might curse the bus for being late, but I still don't want to go out there.
The other day I wore 4 layers, the top one was a jean jacket. I also had a hat, two scarves and my warm fleece-lined mittens. Just about every inch of me was covered. My skin was never cold but my core body temperature dropped. That and the fact that my socks were wet led me to arrive home shivering and unable to feel my toes and the tips of the fingers of my right hand.
I wanted to change my clothes and make dinner like I do every night (okay, most nights) but all I could think about was getting warm. I flopped into my recliner, put a pillow under my feet and wrapped myself in two blankets.
My partner came over and felt my frozen feet, took my socks off and rested my feet against his warm legs. He had just stepped out of a hot shower so his skin was steaming. It was a heavenly feeling, his heat seeping into the bottoms of my feet. It was then I realized my fingertips were tingling and I set about warming them in my armpit.
In a matter of ten minutes I felt human again. The scariest part of this was that my brain fogged over while I was cold. I couldn't think, I couldn't string a sentence together and all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball. This is how people freeze to death. They think they can preserve their body heat by pulling themselves into a smaller space. Yes, the laws of physics state that if you compress something into a smaller space, both pressure and temperature rise. This is not the law of cold bodies.
After half an hour, with my warm feet tucked neatly under the blankets, I fell asleep. I was exhausted. More exhausted than I had felt in a good long time. The human body is an amazing thing but when it needs to recharge, you must let it.
Lesson learned, layers works in the winter but not when the wind is blowing at -33 Celcius.