What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, I Mean, the Weather

Heidi Zheng
February 22, 2015

There are certain topics that, unpleasant and predictable – thus boring – as they are, do not make good conversation. But their unpleasantness and boringness just begs to be addressed, like those ‘last five pounds’ you’ve had for the past five years, numbers on your bank account that don’t quite compute, and the weather when you live in England.

Having spent two brutalizing winters in Rochester, it takes a lot for me to start complaining about the cold. Which is also why I came grossly underprepared. To be fair, it rarely drops below zero, but the perpetual, gnawing, day-in day-out single digit can be quite demoralizing. Plus, I did not bring with me any of my Upstate New York survival gear. Guaranteed, they’d be too heavy duty. But in my most melodramatic moments, I yearn for my down parka, and would love to wrap it around girls who are still sporting flimsy leggings and cut-out jeans. Honey, how do you pull it off?!

I guess they just have to, since Britain has, for the better or worse, missed the memo on wardrobe since the 30s. Camel-hair coats and two-tone brogues are as handsome as they are useless, but plenty of people still don them with a stoic indifference, as if they are means of transportation that, like bikes, are simply meant to get you places, shine or rain.

About the rain: everything you suspect is true, yet it’s nothing like you’d expect. Even a Welsh friend of mine was astonished when he came down here, not by the persistence, for there are lapses in its perpetuity, but rather the whimsies, the caprice, sudden starts that come out of nowhere and ends before you know. One is seldom caught off guard, though; either you have the guards on at all times, or you’ve completely let go a long time ago.

Most of the time it is not even proper rain, merely a colossal wall of moisture that advances horizontally and envelopes you on all sides. But when combined with wickedly strong winds, which we do get occasionally, it gushes literally cats and dogs to the point where I’d like to notify PETA.

Such is the mercy we find ourselves in, so what to do? Owing to my genetically Puritan New England upbringing, I get on with it. I check the weather forecast before I go to bed, and if tomorrow promises to be even a quasi-sunny day, I’d set my alarm to 7:05 in order to take advantage of some natural light. Dorms on the old quad all have a glass wall, and mine faces East, so once in a while I get a full-on assault of the sunrise as pictured.


Belligerent, stunning, tough love. I’m sold.

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Heidi Zheng

<p>I am a Religious Studies major and Literary Translation Certificate candidate at University of Rochester, an aspiring academic of continental philosophy and/or intellectual history, a part-time writer and a life-long reader, a connoisseur of all things dairy, a glutton for podcasts, a procrastinator of uploading photos to Facebook, and, for this school year, a visiting student at St. Catz, Oxford.</p>

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