SULLIVAN: Snowy winter scenes are OK with this Boomer

I just had a serious “OK Boomer” moment. By now, you know that anyone born during the baby boom between 1946 and 1965 is considered irrelevant and ridiculous by anyone born after that, and can be dismissed with a roll of the eyes and a hearty “OK Boomer.”

Until several minutes ago, I thought OK Boomer wouldn’t work on me because I was too cool, careful to keep my cultural relevance status up to date. Like, I just downloaded Evil Empire by Rage Against the Machine, while other gentlemen my age are still banging out “Free Bird” on air guitar in front of the bedroom mirror.

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Of course, this capacity for self-delusion is at the core of the OK Boomer phenomenon. That coupled with a sense of entitlement that everyone else resents. It helps that Boomers have made out like bandits in education, career, investments, real estate and plundering the environment,  and haven’t even noticed that Generations X, Y and Z are left with the leavings. 

Self-awareness being the last attribute of My Generation (self-absorption being its first), I thought I was OK for a Boomer. Until it snowed.

 For some reason, the recent snow has generated a double OK Boomer whammy: nostalgia and a superior attitude.

Let’s start with the superior attitude. I laugh (ha-ha) when it snows in Vancouver, then plummets to -5 C.

You call this snow? I like to tell everyone I grew up in Winnipeg, the snow and cold capital of the world, where blizzards and gales produce towering drifts that blanket second-storey windows. Here we get something like “10 centimetres” and the media go on perpetual storm watch.  Intrepid young reporters stand outside in colourful, inadequate garb and pretend it’s news.

You call this cold? In Winterpeg, it rarely goes above -5 C from October to April. Minus-35 is a real number in the Heart of The Continent, as TV weather pioneer Ed Russenholt used to call it. (OK Boomer).

Ok, that’s the superior attitude. Of course, there are no hills in Winnipeg, with the exception of the occasional freeway on-ramp. When I first encountered Capilano Road from below on a stormy day, I understood the unique challenge of snow in Vancouver, but a superior attitude resists that kind of fact-based scenario.

Then there’s nostalgia. This is softer than a superior attitude, as in softer in the head. In the wake of the first snow, I decided to go for a run, donned my YakTrax, which are devilishly clever pull-on spikes, and took to the roads around Edgemont Village.

After all the anxiety that goes with a snow event, actually getting out into it triggered an attack of acute nostalgia. I found myself drifting back nearly 60 years to the time I delivered papers in the snow and cold back in Winnipeg. Instead of YakTrax, I was shod in cosy, lined lace-up moccasins, and instead of a face mask, I wore a scarf tied artfully so that my eyes were the only exposed part of my body.

I remember feeling back then that this was the best feeling ever, although I would have been challenged to say why. Now, the magic of the snow glistening in the late afternoon sunlight, the folks snug in their houses, the intrepid kid on his rounds plowing through the drifts, is obvious.

Just as it was the other day in North Van when moms towed their bundled-up babies on sleds; kids built snow persons in the park; people were out shovelling, red-faced (careful, Boomer) and cheerful. There was a shared sense of bonhomie, an impromptu winter carnival.

Unlike the carping self-righteousness that goes with surviving 37 Winnipeg winters, this was a welcome surprise, an unanticipated return to the days when snow days came with red cheeks and hot chocolate, not rear-enders.

OK Boomer, it’s time to put a sock in it and let people experience the snow in all its sensory complexity without the grumpy pontificating. If the forecast is correct, it will all wash away soon, and we’ll be back in that default green, soggy state that is winter on the wet coast.

Let me rush to add that the annual Prairie ice age lost its charm years ago, likely when I started to drive. Of course, driving in winter is something that people in Winnipeg are born to do, not like the people here in Vancouver, who are immobilized by a few centimetres of fluff.


You know what to say.…

Journalist and communications consultant Paul Sullivan has been a North Van resident since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of Madonna.

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