MANNO: Frigid weather warms Midwestern character

Some don’t like the cold because it gives them the shivers. Some get dreary-eyed and miserable once December rolls around. Some wish they could open up windows. Some don’t like the dry knuckles and red noses. Some think winter is an inconvenience.

But instead of being a Debbie Downer about it, look for the grey lining and don’t disrespect – cold builds character.

As a near-Clevelander turned Milwaukeean, I’ve learned to embrace the cold as a fact of life. The weather here is very similar – a little less of the snow and a little more of the cold than Cleveland, but miserable nonetheless. There’s nothing to complain about more than the first two weeks of face-cracking cold – but if you tough it out, good winter times will do come. A month into a Cleveland winter, and I’m hopping into brown slush puddles and bare-handing snowballs.

I think the change of pace is good for us as human beings – after all, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and my heart is fond as heck of summertime come March. I’ll appreciate bike rides to the lake much more when they roll around, but for now, we must suffer. 10-degree bike rides to campus it is.

Midwesterners come from a tough-skinned upbringing as it is: building cars, brewing beer, churning steel – so why complain? All I’m asking is for no more of this “moving to Florida” jibber jabber. If you want beach sand monotony and stale warmth all year round, go ahead and go; I’ll help book your flight. But where would you be without fall leaves? Snowmen? Pants instead of shorts?

Of course, I’m not saying if you’re from Arizona you are an emotionless drone (only if you abandon the Midwest for greener pastures). The Midwest is the perfect place for hearty characters, so try to become one. Changes of the seasons bring changes in just about everything, from moods to how we get around town. It’s a guarantee of something unexpected every day. Bundle up, embrace the cold and watch the spontaneity unfold.