Jack Tame: Polar vortex freezes Jack

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Central Park set a record for its lowest recorded temperature. The polar vortex was so intense the city had to collect all of New York's homeless people. Photo / iStock
Central Park set a record for its lowest recorded temperature. The polar vortex was so intense the city had to collect all of New York's homeless people. Photo / iStock

My puffer jacket wins.

It's enormous. It's lined. I look like Violet Beauregarde and when I wore it home from the department store I almost passed out on the bus.

Nuzzling into my puffer jacket is like retreating into an enormous central-heated womb. It's like wearing a big hug.

Then it was -21C.

At first I thought maybe my phone's weather app was broken. Minus 21C? With a wind chill of -34C?

No. Definitely gotta be a phone on the fritz.

I opened the door. The phone was right.

I have been in -21C once before in my life. It was at Antarctica. The great unconquered. The almighty ice.

Never before have I been in weather so cold in a normal, inhabited, regular place.

I was reminded of a spiel by Ricky Gervais, when he questions why Inuit people ever chose to settle in the Arctic.

"Who moved here first? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?"

The first thing you notice when it's -21C is that your nose hairs freeze. It's kind of ticklish and a novelty at first but then gross and uncomfortable and a head cold waiting to happen.

The second thing you notice is the pain. I wore merino gloves and walked a hundred yards across a car park. By the time I reached shelter, my knuckles ached like I'd taken the strap 50 times over.

Central Park set a record for its lowest recorded temperature. The polar vortex was so intense the city had to collect all of New York's homeless people. It doesn't take long in those temperatures for frostbite to kick in.

So what did we do? Did we hit the mountain for a day's skiing, as we'd initially planned? Did we take a stroll and experiment to see if spit could freeze before it hit the ground?

Nope. I did what any sensible person would. I burrowed into my puffer jacket. I put a log on the fire. And then I popped down to the store for a double scoop, cos it's never too cold for icecream. Jack Tame is on Newstalk ZB

Saturdays, 9am-noon

- Herald on Sunday

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