Prompt Images

It’s fucking 75 degrees outside but in my Midwestern bones it’s -6. This whole “sunny in January” thing is a foreign concept to me, and I’m going to be honest—it’s a load of horse shit. I was bred to hibernate and be miserable in January, and no one’s fucking letting me.

“Let’s do a hike!” “Let’s get dinner!” “Let’s go to a show!”

Fucking no. Absolutely not. This is not the time. Read the Chicago Room. We do nothing, and we are sad, and we are lonely, and we are seasonally depressed on top of our regular depression, and that’s the way it fucking goes.

I am used to bone-chilling cold, wind whipping through the gaping fucking holes in my heart, and my 33 year-old arthritic knees creaking louder than Tom Skilling giving a heaping scoop of yet another depressing forecast. (And I don’t care that you don’t know who Tom Skilling is, you fucking loser.)

I’m not used to this happy-go-lucky winter vibe L.A. is so desperate to put on.

This is the time of year I’ve historically been miserable. January after January, I am proven right. I know it, I plan for it, I save my Emily in Paris-es and Bridgertons for it. But the whole Midwest is miserable. So we commiserate. We bitch about how many layers we’re wearing even with the heat on. We panic when the train is way too fucking hot for aforementioned too many layers and scramble to take them off moments before we pass out while holding onto a floating bar and our to-go coffee mug. Or I guess we used to when we used to still commute. (Are we still bitching about this? Can someone let me know? I feel out of the fucking loop.)

We gather at our respective windows at 4:30 P.M. and watch the sunset and say things like, “I can’t believe it’s getting dark already,” and make stupid jokes like, “Welp! Guess it’s time for bed!” We post stupid shitty Instagram stories with just our eyelashes showing and screenshots of the the Weather App boasting the mind-boggling temperature as if no one else in the entire city also checks their Weather App the moment they wake the fuck up, and as if it doesn’t happen every fucking year.

There’s fuck-all to do cause it’s so bitterly cold so we bundle in layers, gorge ourselves on crock pot dips that fucking slap, rewatch Harry Potter 1-7 until our eyes bleed while we’re delusionally casting spells at each other in the kitchen with our wands made from wooden spoons, and drink until our livers are in good enough shape for summer drinking season.

Getting to an actual bar is our version of an extreme winter sport.

Convincing the lame ass troops to leave the comfort of their stupid comfy couch to go drink somewhere darker, further, more expensive, and more crowded than their living room takes a village. And peer pressure. Lots and lots of peer pressure. So get off your ass, dipshit, there are $8 pitchers at Side Street, and they’re not going to drink themselves. Stop pretending your favorite hobby isn’t drinking in different locations and let’s have some fucking fun.

Then there’s the outfit.

Have you tried looking “I Want To Have Sex With Someone Tonight Cute” when it’s so fucking cold you’re 95 percent certain the condom in your wallet is frozen?

[Said in Lola Bunny voice]

“Hey boys, check out my luscious locks and sweet bod, but first let me take off this oversized hunter’s hat, and then this extra thick scarf that I didn’t know how to fold, and then these cute but kinda ugly grandma mittens, and then my floor length puffer jacket that produces a shadow so tall and wide you could mistake me for a construction cone.”

Getting laid in the winter is a goddamn feat. And anyone who has done so, I tip my fur-lined hat to you.

Surviving winter in Chicago is a fucking badge of honor.

And we wear it with pride. And everyone who complains about anything else can go suck a big fat dick, your life isn’t that hard. Sorry you can’t wear your cute coat tonight cause it’s 45 degrees, we’re over here in more layers than Great Aunt Mary’s taco dip. So call us when you learn to love yourself while you look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man got stung by 50 dozen bees.

Mentally, I am still balls-deep in the Windy City.

Which is the dumbest nickname I’ve ever heard since I told people at work to call me K-dizzle. I am up to my short fucking neck in the sludge, trudging through the endless layers of ice and snow, scraping off my stupid big car, pissed as shit at Mother Nature, even though I should be kind to her cause she’s straight up dying and no one really cares.

But physically, I am in Los Angeles.

Surrounded by stupid palm trees and dumb yellow sunshine and frustratingly hot people wearing very few layers. The condom in my wallet isn’t frozen, but I might as well stick it under an ice cold shower and then shatter it like the Ducks did to the Varsity team in Mighty Ducks 3. Because I am still hibernating. And I don’t want to see a fucking soul.

I am huffing and puffing around my apartment, trying to find something to complain about. What’s my issue today? I say in the mirror as I twist my handlebar mustache. I kick my poop brown couch and whisper, “You’re ugly, couch, you look like doggy poop.” Then I spit on it for good measure.

I scoff at my dishwasher and hiss, “Who designed you? Why would your door open RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE SINK?! You should kill yourself.” I slink out the door without slipping on any ice, but when I make my way onto the street that was designed by the dumbest urban planner known to man, otherwise known as Santa Monica Boulevard, I still scream, “CAN YOU DRIVE LIKE A NORMAL PERSON?!” to any car that does anything I deem reprehensible.

The mornings are chilly, and people apologize to me, the New Kid in Town, but I love it so I slap them across the face and tell them to shut the fuck up. My walks are drenched in sweat, and I’m fucking annoyed so I dump ice cold buckets of water on passersby just to get my revenge.

I don’t know if I’ll ever lose the Midwesterner in me.

And honestly I don’t know if I fucking want to. If I ever have kids, and if I ever have a home to house them in, I might send them to boarding school in Chicago just so they can learn to toughen the fuck up. Or just turn the A/C down to 32. But I guess I’d have to be a fucking bajillionaire to afford that electricity bill.

Katie Novotny

Katie is a comedian and copywriter, living in New York to chase her dreams of becoming the official spokeswoman for Bengay.

learn more
Share this story
About The Prompt
A sweet, sweet collective of writers, artists, podcasters, and other creatives. Sound like fun?
Learn more