As you know, Yeere is living with us now. Yeere is Igwe’s mommy, my mother-in-law. Before she came, she had heard tales of the great American cold. When she finally came (in October), she was pleasantly surprised at the lack of cold. It’s still October, I told her. I told her that the cold whose reputation had preceded it to Nigeria was not a myth, and would eventually make its appearance. But October’s lack of decisiveness over what temperature it really wanted to be made Yeere over-confident. All the warm-today, cold-tomorrow days we were having made Yeere believe that this cold she had heard about was nothing but a hanging pant.
When it finally started getting cold, it took her a while to realize that it was even cold outside because inside the house was always warm, thanks to the heater. So, every time we were going out, we’d literally be begging her to wear her coat. In her defense, some of the times she wore the coat, it was not as cold outside.
But her day of reckoning came the other day. Since Yeere came to America, she has taken over taking the trash out. No one asked her to; in fact, we begged her not to. But she said she really enjoys doing it, and that it gives her a chance to receive some fresh air and see other humans. You know America is not like Nigeria where you just go and sit outside and watch people and say hello to your neighbors and ask the children how school was today, especially when you live in an apartment. We do have a balcony, but Yeere has never stepped a foot on it because we live on the third floor and she’s afraid of falling over.
Back to her day of reckoning: she carried the trash bag as usual, ready to take it out. I asked her, “Yeere, aren’t you going to wear your coat?” She said no because she was only taking the trash out and that it was sunny anyway. I said, “Oh, okay.” Igwe was home and decided not to even enter his mouth in our conversation. Meanwhile, I had already told her several times not to judge the temperature by the sunlight, but clearly, she did not believe me.
So she went outside as usual, but on this particular day, she came in faster than usual. And as soon as she walked in, there was a look of shock and fear on her face as she told us that outside was very coooolllllldddd. Igwe and I burst out laughing. My only regret now is that I did not catch this on film for Verastic Life because I anticipated that she would come back in and say it was cold. It was a cold day (24 degrees Farenheit with some wind). She told us, “But sun is shining outside.” I reminded her that the sunshine should not be used to judge/predict the temperature.
These days, she’s cold – even with the heater on. She wears her sweater, pants, hat, and socks and looks like she’s about to go to the North Pole. She has also started using her blanket during the day, instead of only at night after I asked her why she was suffering herself. She used to coil up ON the blanket and cover herself with a flimsy wrapper. When I asked her why she wasn’t using the blanket, she said she thought it was only for the night. I laughed hard. I no longer need to tell her to use her blanket when she’s cold, no matter the time of day. And by the way, her blanket is the thickest one we have in this house.
I don’t need to tell you that Yeere is no longer looking for the American cold, nor is she still thinking that it’s a tall tale. Since that day she took the trash out and the cold slapped some sense into her, she has been less motivated to take the trash out. I wonder why. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen her doing it at all. I asked her the other day why she was no longer going outside for fresh air, and she responded with “Ah, oti oh!” (Ah, no oh!)
P.S. The thermostat is set at 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Ada Verastic and I would prefer that it’s a bit cooler, but Igwe and his mom like it toasty.
P.P.S. And to think, real winter isn’t even here yet. Neither is snow.
P.P.P.S. I need to be camera-ready for when she sees and experiences snow for the first time.