Saturday, January 28, 2012


Holy Balls is it cold out!

This morning it was -54F.

That's colder than Hell.

Colder than a Witch's Tit

Colder than Fuckall.

At -43 propane turns to gel. At -54 it turns over on its side and says: Fuck this. You can go rub two sticks together for all I care. I'm goin back to bed.

Thus, it's too cold to use the propane stove or the water heater. Too cold to cook your food, take a shower, or wash dishes.

It's too cold to go outside because the air is too cold to breathe.

It's so cold the snow is as dry and fine as flour. It's so cold there's no new ice being formed because everything's already frozen. Except for the used kleenex in your pocket--that turns into an iceball.

Although it's not too cold to use the outhouse--when ya gotta go, ya gotta go--it's too cold to wipe your ass. Properly anyway. Better have some baby wipes in the house is all I'm sayin.

It's so cold, everyone that shits in an outhouse will sooner or later comment to their closest friends and relatives that it's almost time to knock their shitspike over.

And what is a shitspike?

It is a stalagmite of feces that has piled up and frozen over the winter, at the bottom of your outhouse.

Day by day the stalagmite grows, because it's too cold to decompose. Eventually someone (usually the man by Alaskan custom) cuts down a stout spruce sapling and strips the branches, making a fine, Friar Tuck-ish staff which he uses to knock the damn thing down. Depending on its height and mass, a falling shitspike can sound like a falling tree, or a bowling alley on league night.

At this point some readers may find this offensive. But trust me, it's too cold right now to be delicate anymore. Cold makes us all a bit more blunt. In my case, maybe a little more than usual.


It goes without saying it's too cold to drive. Even if you can start your car (with Joe away at Toolik, Simon very kindly came over to charge my battery yesterday so I could get to work) you'd better have somewhere to plug in your car's block heater during the day. By the time I drove home in the evening the ice fog was so thick in our valley at times it was a complete whiteout. I had an invitation to a party last night but I forgot to plug in my car after I got home. By the time I remembered, it had dropped to -46, and I would have needed at least three hours warm-up time to start the engine without harming it. So I did what anyone in my situation would do: I grilled a plate-sized steak and potatoes on the Pig, opened a bottle of wine, and had my dinner.

Hmmm, Joe better cut down a bigger spruce sapling this year...

In other news, this morning's outdoor activities at fifty below consisted of piling 1/4 of a cord of wood on the porch: my heat for the next 4-5 days.

Lest you think it's so bad up here we've lost touch with beauty and poetry, think again. It is a privilege to be a tiny part of all that is Alaska in winter.

1 comment:

  1. I searched the internet for "shitting in fairbanks outhouse in winter" because I'm headed up soon and this morning (sitting in my very warm bathroom) I got to wondering what it's like. Cracked me up...