Collier’s Weekly: Listen – It’s Not That Cold Around Here

PM Associate Editor Sean Collier suggests the weather isn't a good enough reason to remain huddled inside.


As I write this, it’s 26 degrees, which is kinda cold. If it gets much lower than this, I might be forced to concede that it is proper cold. But many days recently have featured temperatures in the 30s (not particularly cold), 40s (mild) and 50s (downright pleasant for this time of year).

There will be days in the next few months that are actually cold — not as many as there used to be, but that’s another column — and you will be right to complain on those days. But for now: It’s not that cold.

So it is absolutely not yet time to go inside. If you’re using the temperate weather as an excuse to stay inside, you either have a very nice couch or are just a bit lazy.

This weekend, I found myself in semi-outdoor environments two nights in a row. Friday night, my family went to Fig & Ash (excellent, by the way) to celebrate my mother’s birthday. It’s a hard-to-get reservation; we managed to score a table but were told that we’d be dining on the patio. We were assured, however, that robust outdoor heaters had been installed.

After a line of questioning — “Okay, it’s warm, but is it mom warm” — we agreed. And I can now report that the patio at Fig & Ash is an all-weather setting, an enclosed but open-air seating area with mighty overhead heaters and a series of fire pits. If you pick the right seat, you’ll be more balmy out here than you will inside.

The next night, I made the drive out to Dependable Drive-In, simply because I hadn’t been by in a while (and they were showing the 2009 horror-comedy “Zombieland,” which is a gem). Unlike other outdoor cinemas in the region, Dependable remains open year-round — and, as I discovered last year, it’s a fantastic cold-weather activity. Your car retains heat pretty well, so nothing more than a comforter (which I keep stashed in the trunk at all times for occasions such as this) is necessary — particularly if you get a hot chocolate and a warm snack from the concession stand.

These are hardly the only all-season outdoor activities nearby; from shopping at the Peoples Gas Holiday Market to swinging at Top Golf, there’s no need to retreat to your living room just yet. (Or at all.)

This is especially relevant this year, as pandemic concerns — particularly with the rise of the Omicron variant — grow. I’ve talked to a few people who are planning to once again give up dining out, thinking that outdoor seating is no longer a solid option. As Fig & Ash, among others with heated open-air spaces, proves, that’s not necessary; you can eat out, with good airflow, year-round.

More important: You can get out. Unless there’s been a solid 6 inches of snow in the last 48 hours, the trails in the parks will be clear. The Zoo will be open. Shoppers will still stroll down Butler Street, masking up before ducking into a store. On at least two more occasions this season, the Steelers will take to the gridiron at Heinz Field — and 70,000 people will put on their coats and gloves and join them, just like they do every year.

Life goes on, even if it’s a bit cold.

Besides, it’s not that cold. (And your couch is not that comfortable.)

Categories: Collier’s Weekly