This article was originally published by The Mennonite

How I learned to love only-breath-through-your-nose days

Posted on 01/24/09 at 01:26 PM

Snow Bear These last few weeks of Chicago weather have taught me a lot about how relative warm and cold are. This morning when I walked out the door, I opened my mouth and took a deep breath. “Ah, good,” I thought to myself, “It’s warm enough to breath through my mouth, I can handle this.” It was about 8°F. But then again, on Thursday of last week the temperature never got above 0°F and the average temperature was -5°F see stats for January 15. We won’t even talk about the wind chill (gusts of up to 20 mph).

I came up with a special name for days like this. I call them Only-breath-through-your-nose (OBTYN) days. If you breath through your mouth, you feel a sharp pain in your lungs and are taken with coughing, which often involves more breathing through your mouth. And so on and so forth until you reach shelter or expire. It turns out that our noses in fact do have a purpose besides producing snot. I guess carrying it around in the middle of my face all these years was worth it.

Besides leading to great nose appreciation, I’ve decided that OBTYN days also play an important role in helping us appreciate the rest of winter. When I walked out my door on Wednesday to temperatures above freezing (I think it got as high as 34 °F) it felt downright balmy. I for one am beginning to fantasize about February temperatures that may get as hot as 40 degrees. I can hardly wait.

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