Home Opinion Columns Held hostage by the Polar Vortex of 2019

Held hostage by the Polar Vortex of 2019

Kids (and some adults) love eating snow. But should you? (Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

By Lillian Linscott

I am held hostage behind the strong walls of my home. The chill winds crash against the window panes searching for a way in. As the days drag on, I wonder when I will be able to escape this cage. The first day was relaxing, but as we go on our fifth day of this snow apocalypse, I wonder when it will be over. I ache for a chance to resume my regularly busy life and to visit with friends. The possibility of frostbite numbs my growing ache to venture out. The treacherous roads, a perfect frozen moat.

As a full-time college student with three jobs, I am used to a constant rush of going from one place to the next. It’s as if I was driving my car and this storm decided to swoosh in and stomp on my brakes, bringing everything to a screeching halt. Just as Michigan has frozen over, so have my daily activities. I am almost 21 and have lived in Michigan my whole life, and I have never experienced such extreme weather conditions.

I, however, am not alone in these musings. Grand Rapids residents have found themselves caged by the snow and freezing temperatures. And those that do venture out are not only assaulted by the brutal forces of nature, but the need to compensate time and additional effort to adjust.

One Grand Rapids resident, Audrey Patrick, 19, has been spending her days relaxing and catching up on things she usually has no time for.

“I was a little astonished with how many days that it is constantly snowing,” Patrick said. “I like that schools been cancelled for four days, that’s awesome. It’s fun to go outside and explore the new ground with all the snow.”

Although excited about school closing, the limitations of this winter storm have begun to cast a shadow.

“I’m freaking bored, go outside and you can’t see anything or you’re stuck in the house for like 500 years,” Patrick said. “It seriously feels like an eternity that I’ve been stuck in my house.”

Her brother, Tulley Patrick, 22, has been keeping busy inside, when he would usually be outside, reading and enjoying time with family. He has ventured out into the cold abyss and shared his experience.

“Definitely harder to drive from place to place so it’s caused me to have to plan accordingly and take more time and consideration for driving,” he said. “This winter is definitely worse than the last couple, way colder and there is way more snow. I think that people just need to plan accordingly and slow down. It’s not that bad once you’re out there as long as you take it slow.”

Kudos to those brave adventurers. I myself have been barred from the outside world, only connected through social media. Sara Silkensen, 20, of Grand Rapids, shares my sentiments. Silkensen moved to Michigan in 2014, originally from Minnesota she laments the loss of her “ice skin.” Although Michigan is notorious for its strange and extreme weather patterns, Silkensen says that the weather of this week was a fairly frequent occurrence in Minnesota.

“Now I’m freezing even when I’m inside,” Silkensen said. “I don’t know how I lost the cold immunity. I don’t know what’s more frozen, Michigan or the government.”

Silkensen has also begun to develop cabin fever as she spends her days binging “The Office,” reading and taking naps. She expressed a wish to leave the house, but revealed that she is “under house arrest.”

“I napped, you can’t be bored when you are asleep,” Silkensen said. “My mom came home and said, ‘Nobody is leaving tomorrow, you are all staying put.’ So I cooped myself up in my room.”

The battle between staving off our restlessness and keeping safe is an impossible fight biting winds and piles of snow are sure to win. So here is my message to mother nature: I love winter, but please let me step into the sun, unfreeze my regular activities and thaw the freeze of time.


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