Tonight I sit in front of my laptop in a hotel in Inuvik. Something strange just struck my eye reminding me that this is not the south. Sometimes it seems we forget and fail to appreciate the differences that life offers in the far north. Tonight, I glanced at the door of our hotel room. I have stayed in a lot of hotels of my years but never have I read anything similar to what I just did. Every hotel has to post the emergency procedures on the back of the door exiting all hotel rooms. They all offer standard fair and I won't bore you with the usual stuff, but its the first line that I found to peak my interest. As such I shall quote it directly:
"In case of fire alarm
1. Immediately put on all winter clothing".
I don't imagine this type of warning appears anywhere else in the world. I can't see a hotel in the Caribbean with the warning "Immediately put on all available sunscreen". The difference is, well quite simple. Respect mother nature, cause she sure as hell has no respect for you, You can die simply going for a walk up here.
This lead me inevitably to review how my life has changed as opposed to 4 years ago. For the first time in a few years I needed to buy some clothes recently. I noticed a change in my shopping habits, this time I was looking and bought items with Ad Lines such as "Nail Biter", "indestructible", "fire resistant", "the best pants you'll ever sleep in". Instead of shopping at Harry Rosens, I now shop at places in catalogues where within three pages of my dream pants you can purchase a wolf snare and that really cool new Remington Boss with the suppression muzzle (hint, hint for Christmas). My pants must have a weight beside them and anything less than 10 oz is unacceptable. Anything, lined with flannel goes immediately to the top of the list, I now have over $400.00 in thermal underwear. I still have over twenty silk ties, and they remain vacuum sealed in a bag in my closet from when I sealed them nearly 4 years ago. Any boot rated above -45 is a waste of money. I still love my Italian leather shoes, and they look terrific in my closet, I used to polish them weekly, Now I dust them. The weight of my indoor clothes on any given day exceeds three pounds for a shirt and pants, outdoor clothes included, 16 lbs. I have six different styles of face and neck warmers, and I wear them based on activity and weather, snowmobiling is different than walking, walking is different than working freight, etc. I have three different types of emergency heating equipment in my house, propane, kerosene and electric. I would much rather spend 24 hours outside in -30 than 4 hours outside in +30. I personally know three convicted murderers (two of which have been pictured in this blog and I consider to be two of the most reliable friends I've ever had), 6 people who've been attacked by bears, 80% of the people I know have lost a immediate relative to the environment, I no longer see frost bite as a injury but rather that someone had fun on the weekend, I find the "city" of Inuvik to be too metropolitan for my liking (it has a population of 1,200). I like planes where I get to sit within six feet of the pilot, and depending upon the weather he may ask everyone to look out the window and see if they recognize any of the lakes.
Everything is relative,
Sunday, November 30, 2008