Like a lot of people, I spent my share of time complaining about the weather earlier this week. On Monday, I got a text from work as I woke up saying that they were delaying the start of work for two hours due to weather. At that point it was 5F outside. The temperature dropped all day. By the time I got in (taking advantage of the two hour delay to extend my paternity leave for a couple hours) it was 0F and by the time I left that night it was -8F. For central Ohio, that's pretty cold. (I tried picking up a bottle of bubble solution the next day to see if I could blow frozen bubbles, but it turns out that 5F is not cold enough to instantly freeze bubbles into ice spheres. Sigh.)
Of course, most of us doing the complaining were not spending much actual time out in the cold. I'd bundle up in my warm jacket, hat, scarf and gloves, then walk the fifty yards from the door to my car, start it up and five minutes into my commute the heater was putting out a pretty warm current of air. Other bold experiences included taking the trash cans out to the curb that night. It's not as if I were in a house without heating, or had to work outside for living.
I think this actually is some of the attraction of a hardship only slightly felt. Something like dealing with sub-zero temperatures adds a bit of variation to what it otherwise routine. It presents a few colorful difficulties, but it's not really something I suffer from. As such, it's the sort of hardship I almost like to have: a bit of hardship, a sense of shared predicament with others, but no lasting damage or difficulty.
There's nothing really wrong with this, so long as I don't confuse my experience of these kind of minor difficulties with people undergoing real hardships. But it's important to keep in mind that my experience of these kind of mini hardships is entirely formed by the fact that after a few minutes of feeling the moisture in my nose freeze up, I can come in to where it's comparatively warm, start a fire in the fireplace, and make myself a warm cup of coffee.
Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped
1 hour ago