Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Field Guide to Winter Sounds

deeply excellent photo from Dale O'Dell. His website is

Walking up Michigan Avenue in the winter, the intrepid adventurer encounters many sounds: traffic, car horns, sirens, the occasional argument, some laughter, and every now and then... a shriek!  I've made a study of the various shrieks of the "winter footwear challenged" segment of the human species, and I have created the following field guide to help you interpret these sounds, and perhaps even get a visual confirmation of the creature.

A.  The sound: a muffled, rhythmic gasping sound, with occasional expletives interjected.
The creature in question: Post Pedicure Flip-Flopper

Visual confirmation: check the feet - bluish feet, perfect toenails, and cheap, flimsy, salon-giveaway flip flops being worn on freezing cold pavement.

B.  The sound: a short squeal, followed by ceaseless complaining.

The creature: Sitcom Wannabe Stockingless Wonder

Visual confirmation:  blue legs

C.  The sound: An abrupt, shrill and quite urgent scream, followed by the murmur of crowds.

The creature: Fashion Victim Heels-On-Ice

Visual confirmation:  usually found in the middle of a crowd of spectators, the FVH-O-I will be found on the ground, feet up in the air.  Confirmation will be when you can locate the very high heels which are the key to this behavior. Platform soles are also occasionally spotted.

D.  The sound:  A long wail, followed by chattering teeth.

The creature: The Ugg Wearer in Slush

Visual confirmation:  Again, check the feet.  Look for over-sized suede footwear, dripping wet and quite heavy.  Shivering is often exhibited by this particular speciment.

Here's hoping that this brief guide will help you better appreciate the urban wonderland that can be found in any big city!


  1. Thanks for the laughs!! I wonder which sound the polar bear made...

  2. Hilarious! I needed the giggle, thanks!

  3. That's MY photo! So either credit me for it or take it off your blog. As it is you are violating my copyright.

    Dale O'Dell

  4. Really witty, Vivienne. Your observations are priceless. Great photo, Dale. Just don't assume that people make oversights on purpose. What you ought to have done is emailed the blog-owner privately and not try to embarrass her publicly. You would have found she, unlike you, is a truly ethical individual.