The invisible enemy

Wind blows

By Matt Berg, Columnist

Let’s face it –wind blows.

Every day, thousands of us wake up and prepare for that universally dreaded early morning walk to class. Checking your favorite weather app, you notice that it’s partly sunny and 60 degrees out – not too bad for the morning. “No coat?” You wonder. “Maybe a light flannel will do.” With a pep in your step, you walk out the door, ready to tackle the day – until you quite literally cannot take another step due to gusts of wind pushing you back. Recollecting yourself, you realize that the temperature feels more like 45 degrees.

With no time to run back inside and grab another layer, you rush to class shivering as you are mauled by the incessant, bitter, evil wind.

Out of all the elements, I often hear people name snow as their least favorite. Snow and ice certainly aren’t pleasant, especially when I slip and fall on the path going to Frank. A rare breed will note excessive sunlight as their mortal enemy, and yes, when I sweat profusely through my cotton shirt, that is not a pleasant sight to see. But never do I hear the mention of wind in the conversation. It’s time that people recognize the invisible enemy for what it is: a blatant inconvenience.

Aside from causing you to make a poor wardrobe choice, wind has numerous effects that can cause harm to one’s day –or even one’s life. It is no secret that wind can make a pleasantly warm day horribly unpleasant, as mentioned in my example above. It can also make cold days much worse. In the Midwest this year, the wind chill index went into the negative 60-degree range, with wind chills causing people to become prone to frostbite or hypothermia within minutes if not properly covered. Nonetheless, that is a preventable occurrence if you are actively paying attention and knowledgeable about the threat that wind poses.

No matter how prepared someone is to battle this invisible force, there are certain situations that a human simply has no control over. When driving, wind has the potential to push the car, causing you to mistakenly sway between lanes. SUVs and vans may be difficult to control during wind advisories with gusts of at least 45 mph, an obvious threat to everyone on the road. Strong winds can also cause trees to collapse, damaging property or even people directly. Power outages are often caused by wind, forcing people to miss school or work, not to mention having to salvage all of those leftovers in the fridge.

And let’s not forget the crowning disadvantage of wind: natural disasters. Wind is the basis of hurricanes and  tornadoes, two very visible enemies that destroy everything in their paths. I have first-hand experience with this, as my hometown was ravaged by two tornadoes on the same day in 2011. There was significant damage to my town and a loss of power for multiple days. Luckily, no one was killed.

Now, I’m not advocating for the total eradication of wind (which is impossible), nor am I doubting the numerous benefits that wind has. I love flying a kite as much as the next person. There are few better feelings as a kid than seeing your kite fly high through the air, propelled by the seemingly magical wind currents. A gentle breeze on a hot day is pleasant. Also, wind energy is cool. It may be the key to clean energy, thus saving the world, but that is not pertinent to my everyday life. I’m not saying that wind is not beneficial to the human race as a whole – it clearly is. I am simply saying that wind deserves more hate than it currently gets.

Perhaps I just need to change my mindset on the element. Some people do utilize the wind in ways that seem enjoyable. Wind skateboarding looks interesting, and sailing would be a pretty fun hobby. But until then, I can’t help but focus on the inconvenience that wind imposes on my day-to-day activities.

All in all, it’s safe to say that I’m not a big fan of wind.

Matt Berg is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]