The ice planet strikes back

    Lately I’ve been feeling like a resident of Ice Planet Hoth, that glacier-encrusted world that the Rebel Alliance found itself exiled to in “The Empire Strikes Back.”

    I don’t know how well you remember the movie, but basically everything on Hoth sucked.

    The good guys were living in dark, cavernous, ice-walled structures below ground that were a far cry from the ornate, palatial chamber of the ding-dong-the-Death-Star’s-dead awards ceremony at the end of the first film. The rebels had become grim-faced, chapped-lipped automatons, eking out a pitiful existence in frigid, subzero temperatures. Even Princess Leia, the epitome of intergalactic glamour, was reduced to wearing what, in today’s parlance, would amount to no more than a puffy vest and UGG Boots.

    Not only did living accommodations and fashion suffer on Hoth, but bad things started to happen as well. Luke gets attacked by an Abominable Snowman and dragged to its lair. Han manages to rescue him, but loses his trusty Tauntaun to the frozen climate and is forced to slice it open and use its entrails for warmth. Like I said, life on Hoth sucked and if you hadn’t guessed, it was the weather’s fault.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    It’s the recent single-digit wind chills that have me feeling like a Hoth resident. Fashion has been downgraded to winter necessities. Cute has been set aside in favor of warmth as a personal goal. There’s the dry, cracked lips, the runny nose, the propensity to whine brought on by particularly icy gusts of wind.

    I know I’ve adopted a Hoth mentality: a head-down, nose to the grindstone pessimism that affords little view of the gray, winter sky. Call it the urge to hibernate, call it seasonal affective disorder, but whatever you call it; I can’t seem to shake it. The weather is being a total bear and it’s messing up my life.

    From whence this anger? It could be that I’m having a hard time readjusting to this climate. I just moved back here from Southern California, which would be the desert planet Tatooine to Philly’s Hoth. Ah, the halcyon days of Tatooine; all sandy dunes, glistening sun and adorable Jawas. I may have whinged every now and then about having to mind the Droids, but there was warmth and light all year round and I never once had to tussle with snow boots or scrape ice from my windshield wondering why the sun has forsaken me or what I did to deserve this.

    Maybe it’s not about me. Maybe it’s about climate change, but since I’m not a scientist possessed of the data, nor do I have my own personal Al Gore to spell out his inconvenient truth for me on a daily basis, I am left to interpret this weather the only way I know how: personally.

    So here I am shaking my tiny, angry fist at the soulless, sunless sky. Here I am calling shenanigans on any low-pressure system allowing arctic air to sweep down from the north and hover over the tri-state area like a meddlesome maiden aunt. I know that I am toeing the line. I know that it’s especially dangerous for one small, insignificant human being to rage against an entire planet saddled with a flawed atmosphere that I’ve helped to wound with my wasteful consumption of resources. I know that one day, maybe even today, the Ice Planet will strike back, and that when it lobs a winter like this one at you, all you can do is duck.

    Erica David is a writer, resident of West Oak Lane, and employee at Big Blue Marble Bookstore in Mt. Airy.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal