Frozen Days 16-17: The Lonely Bench

Temperature: -18.9 degrees Celsius (16th) and -15.9 (17th)

Feels Like: -27 degrees Celsius (16th) and -25 (17th)

Wind: WNW 13 km/hr (16th) ENE 17 km/hr (17th)

It’s midday and there’s no one around. Great puffs of hardened snow are piled up around me as I sit on one of the few accessible benches in the city. It was quite the find alright – especially since almost all of the other benches scattered throughout the city have been overtaken by piles of snow. The wind tears across my face, but I bear the sting because I have nowhere else to go. I feel out of place because I am loitering. There is nothing to watch – no birds in the sky or water lapping at the shoreline or people playing in the park. I imagine the people in the buildings of downtown looking out the window and thinking there is something odd about the person who is just sitting there, still and purposeless. I imagine they can tell that I’m not waiting for anyone, that I am alone, and that I have nowhere to be and nothing to do but let the time pass. Which it does. I eventually stand up and walk away having done nothing but scratch my mitts against an asteroid-shaped chunk of snow. The cold has seeped past my protective layer of clothing and I am chilled. My face is a mottled burgundy. But as I leave, I place that chunk of snow on the bench. Although imperfect and rough around the edges, it is shaped like a heart. Perhaps, for someone who finds themselves at The Lonely Bench, that is something after all.

Time: 2:32P – 3:46 (16th) 12:45P – 2:06P (17th)

Today’s Minutes: 74 + 81 = 155

Total Challenge Minutes: 1932/3720

Ahead/Behind: -108

Frozen Day 9: When The Streets Run Out

Temperature: -11.2 degrees Celsius

Feels Like: -19 degrees Celsius

Wind: N 17 km/hr

It feels like I’m going in circles. Oh wait. I am. There are a few things out there that feel unproductive – like washing your car in the rain or, you know, just generally being on facebook – but one thing that feels unproductive to me is backtracking. Why not see more than you already have? Go farther, see new things, explore? Sure, the distance and time will add up to the same thing, but the experience will be far different.

Unfortunately, in a small city, those loops are about to become redundant. I’ve already walked all over downtown with a few routes crossing into other parts of the city. Given that my starting points are always either home or the office, I’m taking some fairly regular routes already even without backtracking. The familiarity is lessening the initial excitement of spending so much time with the streets of Yellowknife.

This challenge isn’t about walking though. The walking is just something to do to pass the time and, already, boredom is seeping in. Not because there isn’t an abundance of outdoor activities, but because I am trying to snatch an hour here and an hour there each day as opposed to an afternoon of skiing or playing hockey.

This all leads me to this question: what is it like for the homeless?

When I spend time outside it’s usually because of an event or an activity – even if that activity is just going for a walk. For the homeless it’s because they have to. So when you take away the purpose of being outside, what are you left with?

As I’ve said before, I am not an authority on homelessness, so rather than offering up paltry explanations or attempts to answer these questions, I’m going to leave them open-ended for you to think about. Try going outside with no activity or event or even a book or anything and staying out there for a long while. That still isn’t comparable, but perhaps it will offer a new perspective.

When the streets run out and it is just you and all you have is time, can you imagine what that feels like?

Time: 1 pm – 2 pm and 5:16 pm – 6:15 pm

Today’s Minutes: 119

Total Challenge Minutes: 1038/3720

Ahead/Behind: -42 minutes

Frozen Day 3: On The Job Clocking

Temperature: -28.9 degrees Celsius

Feels Like: -34 degrees Celsius

Wind: North 5 km/hr

Today feels like a cheat day. Not because I’m even further behind, but because I got to log over 2 hours during work hours. I have to say it was somewhat of a god send. I’m learning that to fall behind is much more of a serious infraction each day. Like any hole, the deeper it’s depth, the harder it is to climb out of it. But, you know… this is Day Three. Day Three.

DSC05674

The two hours plus passed by quickly as I was busy working even though I had some inadequate coverage on my feet and was doing the foot shuffle trying to keep my toes warm. This morning I hadn’t taken the time to choose wisely when it came to socks. Instead of a pair of toasty warms, I chose some thin lizzies. Now, to the above left you’ll see what my work site was for the morning. Not too bad. Not too bad at all. I’ve said it a bunch of times, but up here it’s just different.

So. I clocked my hours, got my work done and was able to have a nice, relaxing evening in – which I needed.

After the hullabaloo of the weekend, my body went down the tube and allowed sickness to creep in. So be prepared for some whiny posts over the next few days. I’m a supreme baby when I get a cold. And I’m not ashamed to say that I want my Mom to come take care of me every time even though I am a grown woman. I’m sure you get it. Moms just make everything better. Unfortunately, I’ve lived more than a road or two away from my family for some time so I haven’t gotten that Mom Magic to make everything all better in years. My chicken noodle soup just isn’t the same.

To recap, I’m still behind a bit, but I’m optimistic on banking a number of hours soon. I’ve always preferred to be ahead rather than scrambling to catch up. Sometimes it happens, though, and you just have to roll with the punches until you’re back on top.

Time: 9:34 am – 11:57 am

Today’s Minutes: 143

Total Challenge Minutes: 334/3720

Ahead/Behind: Behind by 26 minutes