Cabin Fever Is Serious Business


God shat on Chicago this week, blessing us with more than 20 inches of powdery white misery and two days of citywide chaos. In the blizzard’s wake is only the misery and claustrophobia known as cabin fever. Suffer with me.

I shouldn’t complain; I was born and raised in northwestern Wisconsin, went to school in South Bend, Indiana and have lived in Chicago for my entire post collegiate life, but I’ve yet to get used to the crushing ennui brought on by the Midwest’s annual baptism by snow. It’s like every year, I forget and am surprised, just cruising along in my gym shorts and flip flops and sundresses and suddenly it’s holy fucking shit cold outside and I occasionally worry that I might die on the walk to the train. And rather than get myself up and out of the Midwest like I’ve been threatening to do for my entire life (for awhile, I told my mother that I was moving to Sesame Street, because it was in a city and seemed like a safe neighborhood), I complain about the weather with other Midwesterners. Spring and summer are for baseball, fall is for football, and winter is for complaining about the weather. It’s our regional pastime. And then, in March-ish, just before the collective mental breaking point of all of flyover country, the temperature hits 40 degrees and we’re free, free from the shackles of the winter! Whee! We’re happy little schoolchildren frolicking in the streets! We’re listening to upbeat, radio scrubbed hip hop music with the car windows down and we are leaving the office for lunch hour! What happens, though, when that breaking point is moved significantly forward by something catastrophic like, say, a blizzard?

I was trapped indoors for two full days this week, friends, and am hesitant to leave my apartment this weekend on account of the fact that the Windy City has been transformed into that ice planet from Star Wars, but with more dog pee in the snowbanks. It’s disgusting out there. I’ve been reading and watching Arrested Development reruns and attempting to cook with the food I have in my freezer and taking a look at the pile of clothes that lives in front of my closet and considering folding it but instead opting to eat Shark Bites fruit snacks. My companion has been listening to this song over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. My cat’s been yowling and scurrying around. People keep announcing on Facebook that they’re going someplace warm or posting pictures from their vacation to the Yucatan and I’m cursing myself for not having the foresight to book a plane ticket to Costa Rica back in November. I don’t know if I’m going to make it this year, you guys. I just don’t know!

After work yesterday, I thought I’d act like a functioning adult and buy some groceries, but I sorely overestimated my ability to carry shit in the snow and thus spent 25 frozen minutes on Milwaukee Ave attempting to hail a cab while passersby in Sorel boots clucked at me with their tongues. When one finally arrived, I had to trudge through a drift that hit me about midway up my thighs, infusing my work pants with super industrial grade Chicago street salt residue. By the time I got home, all I wanted to do was turn the hot water on full blast and lay in the tub fully clothed while listening to frog mating calls. The snowy conditions of the sidewalks make running outdoors impossible. I’m at the end of my winter rope, and all I have left is overwrought, whiny internet complaining.

Leaving the house was a bad idea, but staying in seems just as bad. In this crappies of crap winters, what do you do to combat cabin fever, readers? Does it work?

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin