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As I get older, winter gets old

I returned to school after a long period of absence, anxious to see my friends again. But instead of being greeted with open arms and wide smiles, I was welcomed by a chorus of coughs and a flood of runny noses. Ah yes, winter is finally upon us.

It’s the time of year when everyone should be armed with at least a gallon of hand sanitizer and a few dozen boxes of Kleenex. People give second thoughts to borrowing someone’s pencil — just in case any germs are on it. My history class recently wrapped up it’s unit about the plague. Workers were paid by the day just in case they couldn’t come the next.

Men and women walked around with cloth over their noses so they didn’t inhale the disease. Frighteningly enough, I’m starting to see similarities between one of the world’s most fatal tragedies and the flu season in the halls of my high school. When teachers assign homework, they glance quickly at the sickest looking kid in the room before announcing that the worksheet will be due tomorrow or "whenever I see you again." I recently sneezed and itched my Rudolph-red nose before returning a borrowed pen to my friend. She looked at the Bic with disgust and then told me that I could keep it.

Anyone who says they love winter is a liar. Summer is filled with endless days and freedom. Spring brings flowers and the anxious energy that comes with the knowledge that school will be over in a matter of weeks. Fall, although also bringing the start of the new year, also brings some of the coolest fashions to the stores. But winter — winter is useless.

As a young, innocent child I thought of winter as the greatest time of year. Christmas, no school and visions of poorly built snow forts were what I dreamed of all year. The concept of icy roads meant absolutely nothing to me.

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Everyone in my class would run to the window the second the first flake fell, noses pressed against the glass, and picture ourselves making giant snowmen, sledding down towering hills, and generally having the time of our lives. And school closings were just an added bonus, a chance for me to sit home and watch "The Animaniacs" all day.

But then I hit high school, got my license and finally saw winter for what it really was — the worst season of all. My friends and I still make a mad dash to the window when the snow starts to fall — but instead of dreaming about our after-school activities, we dread having to trek outside, scrape the ice off the car, and maneuver our way home through scary semis and other drivers while avoiding the ice — almost like a demented video game.

Even simple snow-related activities stink. On a recent day off from school, my friends and I decided to attempt sledding down the big hill in my backyard — just like old times.

But on our first journey down, we hit a strategically placed tree and tumbled off the sled, cold, wet, and slightly injured.

Maybe winter, like Disney TV shows, BabyGap, and McDonald’s Playland, is just a lot more fun when you’re still in elementary school. Sadly, it’s one of those things that we can’t avoid. All we can do is bundle up, grin, and secretly repeat four-letter words in our head every time the weatherman predicts another three to seven inches of snow.

Paula Skaggs is a junior at Fillmore Central High School. To respond to an opinion column, send an e-mail to teenbeat@postbulletin.com.

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