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1158 Cold Weather Complaints

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 1,158 – Cold Weather Complaints.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 1,158. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

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This episode is a dialogue between Boris and Kay about being in cold weather and complaining about it – telling people what you don’t like about it. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Boris: Come on, keep climbing! This is the best exercise you’ll get all winter.

Kay: My face hurts and I can’t stop shivering.

Boris: If we pick up the pace, you’ll warm up.

Kay: I doubt it. I can feel my core body temperature dipping. I feel hypothermia coming on.

Boris: Don’t be silly. You’re dressed in layers, with fabric that wicks moisture away from your skin and insulates your body from the cold. The worst you’re going to get are dry skin and cracked lips.

Kay: Then why do I feel pins and needles in my hands and numbness in my feet?

Boris: Maybe you’re just getting used to the cold. You’ll feel warmer in a minute.

Kay: But what if they’re signs of frostbite? I think I’ll turn back before I freeze.

Boris: And miss out on these awe-inspiring winter views?

Kay: I prefer the awe-inspiring views of a blazing fire!

[end of dialogue]

We begin our dialogue with Boris telling Kay, “Come on, keep climbing!” “To climb” (climb) means to go up, usually a hill or a mountain. Boris says, “This is the best exercise you’ll get all winter.” Boris is telling Kay that climbing – whatever it is they’re climbing, a hill or a rock or a mountain – is going to be good exercise. Kay says, “My face hurts and I can’t stop shivering.”

Kay says her “face hurts.” It’s painful probably because it’s so cold out. She says she “can’t stop shivering.” “To shiver” (shiver) means to have your body move – or we would say “shake” (shake) – uncontrollably because you’re so cold. If you’re really, really cold, sometimes your arms will start moving, your body will start moving, because you are so cold. That’s called “to shiver.”

Boris says, “If we pick up the pace, you’ll warm up.” “To pick up the pace” (pace) is an expression meaning to increase your speed, especially when you are talking about walking – to walk more quickly. Boris is telling Kay that if she moves more quickly, she will warm up. She won’t be as cold. “To warm up” is a two-word phrasal verb meaning to become warmer.

Kay doesn’t believe it. She says, “I doubt it,” meaning I don’t think so. “I can feel my core body temperature dipping.” Your “core (core) body temperature” refers to how warm or cold the center of your body is. You’re not talking about how cold your arms and legs are, but rather the middle part of your body, what we might call your “torso” (torso). “To dip” (dip) means to go down. So, if your core body temperature is “dipping,” the temperature is decreasing. We might also say it’s “dropping.”

Kay says, “I feel hypothermia coming on.” “Hypothermia” (hypothermia) is when your body is too cold. It gets so cold that you could even die. It’s a condition of the body having too low of a temperature. “To come on” here is another way of saying it is beginning to happen. Kay says she feels “hypothermia coming on.” Boris says, “Don’t be silly,” meaning you’re wrong; you’re exaggerating; you’re not being rational.

He says, “You’re dressed in layers with fabric that wicks moisture away from your skin and insulates your body from the cold.” If you are “dressed in layers” (layers), you have different pieces of clothing on, one over the other, so that you keep warmer. If you live in a cold area, you know that a good way of keeping warm is to put different pieces of clothing on your body – one shirt, and then another shirt over that, and then a sweater over that. This is called “dressing in layers.” A “layer” is a different section of something, one on top of another.

“To wick (wick) moisture (moisture)” means for a piece of clothing to take the wetness – that’s what “moisture” is – from your skin and move it away from your skin in order to keep your skin dry. It’s not a very common expression, “to wick moisture.” I don’t think I’ve ever used it before in my life, but it is the technical way of describing what clothing can do to keep your skin warm. Certain kinds of clothing, certain kinds of “fabric” (fabric) – the material from which clothing is made – can help remove the moisture from your skin, preventing you from getting even colder.

“To insulate” (insulate) something is to prevent something from getting too hot or too cold. In many houses in the United States, there is insulation in the walls. It’s a material that helps the house retain or keep the heat inside. In houses in the northern part of the United States this is very common, to have your house insulated. Well, your body can also be insulated in such a way that the warmth of your body, the heat of your body, doesn’t escape and therefore make you cold.

That’s what Boris means when he says that the clothing that Kay is wearing is “insulating” her body from the cold. It’s also keeping the cold air out so that the body doesn’t become cold. “The worst you’re going to get,” Boris explains, “are dry skin and cracked lips.” “Dry skin” is when your skin doesn’t have enough moisture, that can sometimes cause you to have itchy skin – where you want to scratch your skin because it is so dry. It can also cause what is called “peeling” (peeling), where the outer layer of your skin begins to come off.

“Cracked (cracked) lips (lips)” is when your lips, which are the two things that are the outer part of your mouth, become so dry that they have little tears in them. The skin might even begin to “bleed” (bleed), which is when blood comes out. To have “cracked lips” is to have lips that are so dry that the skin begins to crack. It begins to open up, and that’s what causes the bleeding and can also be quite painful. If you live in a cold area, you often have to put something on your lips so that they don’t become too dry. The thing you put on your lips to prevent them from becoming too dry is called “lip balm” (balm).

Anyway, Boris is telling Kay that her situation is not going to become serious in terms of getting too cold. Kay says, “Then why do I feel pins and needles in my hands and numbness in my feet?” The expression “pins (pins) and needles (needles)” refers to a sensation or a feeling that part of your skin is perhaps being pierced or stuck with a pin or a needle. A “pin” is a small, thin piece of metal that can be used for a number of different purposes. The important thing to know is that both “pins” and “needles” have sharp points that, if you were to put it against your skin, would hurt.

Kay is describing a feeling of pain that she is getting on her skin – or if not pain, at least a weird feeling on her skin because she’s getting cold. She also describes “numbness” (numbness) in her feet. If you are “numb” in some part of your body, you are unable to feel any heat, cold, or touch to that part of your body, typically. We would say you “lack any sensation” in that part of your body; your body isn’t able to feel the things it would normally feel, such as heat and cold.

If you go to the dentist, the dentist will usually put something into your mouth. The dentist will inject something with a needle into your mouth in order to make part of your mouth “numb” (numb) so that you won’t feel the dentist doing his or her work. Kay thinks that she has numbness in her feet due to the cold. Boris says, “Maybe you’re just getting used to the cold,” meaning maybe you just need a little more time and your body will adapt to the cold. “You’ll feel warmer in a minute,” he says.

Kay responds, “But what if they’re signs of frostbite?” She’s worried that this numbness, for example, is a sign of a very serious medical condition called “frostbite” (frostbite). “Frostbite” is a medical condition where part of your skin begins to die, in effect, because it’s too cold. It can be very dangerous. Kay says, “I think I’ll turn back before I freeze.” “To turn back” is a two-word phrasal verb that here means to return to the place you left, to go back to where you came from.

Kay wants to go back to where she came from before she freezes. “To freeze” (freeze) means for a liquid to become a solid. However, Kay isn’t referring to the more scientific definition of freeze. She just means getting very, very cold. You may walk into a room that is very cold and say, “It’s freezing in here.” You don’t mean it’s actually below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the freezing point for water. You mean it’s really, really cold, and that’s what Kay means here.

Boris says, “And miss out on these awe-inspiring winter views?” He’s saying that if Kay returns, she will “miss out” – that is, she will not be able to benefit from or appreciate these “awe-inspiring winter views.” A “view” (view) refers to something you can see, usually something that’s nice to look at. If you have a hotel room near the ocean, you may have an ocean view. You may be able to see the ocean from your window, the window of your hotel room.

Boris is saying to Kay that if she returns back home, or back to wherever she came from, she will miss out on some “awe-inspiring (awe-inspiring) winter views.” Something that is “awe-inspiring” is something that is very beautiful, something that is very powerful that affects you in a good way. “Awe-inspiring” could be used to describe a view. It could be used to describe a piece of art or a piece of music, even.

Kay says, “I prefer the awe-inspiring views of a blazing fire.” “Blazing” (blazing) means burning brightly and warmly. If you have a fire that you make from, say, several pieces of wood, and the fire is large or strong, it might be described as being “blazing” – burning brightly and creating a lot of heat so that if you stand near it, you will become warm. Kay says she would rather be in front of a fire than in front of the “awe-inspiring winter views” that Boris wants her to see. I think if I were Kay, I would do the same thing.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Boris: Come on, keep climbing! This is the best exercise you’ll get all winter.

Kay: My face hurts and I can’t stop shivering.

Boris: If we pick up the pace, you’ll warm up.

Kay: I doubt it. I can feel my core body temperature dipping. I feel hypothermia coming on.

Boris: Don’t be silly. You’re dressed in layers, with fabric that wicks moisture away from your skin and insulates your body from the cold. The worst you’re going to get are dry skin and cracked lips.

Kay: Then why do I feel pins and needles in my hands and numbness in my feet?

Boris: Maybe you’re just getting used to the cold. You’ll feel warmer in a minute.

Kay: But what if they’re signs of frostbite? I think I’ll turn back before I freeze.

Boris: And miss out on these awe-inspiring winter views?

Kay: I prefer the awe-inspiring views of a blazing fire!

[end of dialogue]

I think the dialogues written by our scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse, are awe-inspiring sometimes. Thanks, Lucy, for your wonderful work.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2015 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to shiver – for one’s body to shake uncontrollably because one is very cold or frightened

* Oh, you’re shivering! Here, borrow my hat and wrap this blanket around your body.

to pick up the pace – to increase one’s speed, especially to walk more quickly

* We need to pick up the pace if we want to get back to the car before sunset.

core body temperature – how warm or cold the center of one’s body is, not referring to the temperature of one’s arms or legs

* People’s core body temperature should be very close to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

to dip – to drop, lower, decrease, or reduce

* The oil level in the car is dipping. There must be a leak.

hypothermia – a dangerous medical condition when one’s body is too cold and one is at risk of brain damage or death

* When the ice broke and Charles fell into the lake, he almost died of hypothermia.

to be dressed in layers – to be wearing many pieces of clothing at the same time, one on top of another, usually in order to stay warm

* The hikers were dressed in layers: underclothes, hiking pants and a button-down shirt, a wool sweater, a fleece jacket, and a rain jacket.

to wick moisture – for a fabric to pick up wetness from one’s skin or another surface and move it away, keeping it dry

* Paula wants to buy some new running clothes that will wick moisture away while she’s running the marathon.

to insulate – to surround something with air or another substances that minimizes changes in temperature, preventing something from getting too hot or too cold

* The builders insulated this house really well, so the owners don’t need to use very much electricity to heat and cool it.

dry skin – skin that has very little moisture (water or liquid) in it, making it feel tight and uncomfortable, and possibly resulting redness and peeling

* This moisturizer was created for people with very dry skin on their hands and feet.

cracked lips – lips (the two pink lines of skin around the opening of the mouth) that have small tears in the skin and possibly bleed, usually because they have become too dry

* Try putting some coconut oil or Vaseline on your cracked lips. It should help them heal more quickly.

pins and needles – the sensation that part of one’s skin is being pierced by many small, sharp objects, usually caused by having blood return to the skin very quickly

* After sitting cross-legged for an hour, we all felt pins and needles in our legs when we stood up.

numbness – an inability for one’s skin to feel; a lack of the sensation of touch

* The dentist gave the patient a shot that caused numbness on the tooth and the surrounding gums.

frostbite – a medical condition where part of one’s skin begins to die because it was too cold

* We should have a doctor look at the frostbite on your fingers before they become infected.

to freeze – for a liquid to become a solid at a low temperature; for one to be extremely cold

* We put the sliced peaches into bags to freeze for the winter.

awe-inspiring – creating feelings of wonder and amazement; very beautiful, powerful, and majestic

* John’s awe-inspiring speech motivated many members of the audience to sign up as volunteers for the organization.

blazing – burning brightly and warmly, with many large flames

* Hundreds of firefighters are trying to put out the blazing forest fires.

Comprehension Questions
1. What causes hypothermia?
a) The core body temperature dipping
b) Wicking moisture away
c) Dry skin and cracked lips

2. Which of these is painful?
a) Shivering
b) Pins and needles
c) Numbness

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
dry

The phrase “dry skin,” in this podcast, means skin that has very little moisture (water or liquid) in it, making it feel tight and uncomfortable, and possibly resulting in redness and peeling: “This hot, dry air is giving me dry skin.” The phrase “the dry season” refers to a period of time each year when there is little or no rain: “In this country, we don’t have winter, spring, summer, and fall, but we do have the rainy season and the dry season.” The phrase “dry toast” describes bread that is toasted (placed under heat to make it hard) and eaten alone, without any butter or jam: “Jessie has dry toast and coffee for breakfast each morning.” Finally, “dry wine” refers to wine that is not sweet: “Do you like dessert wines, or do you prefer dry wines?”

blazing

In this podcast, the word “blazing” means burning brightly and warmly, with many large flames: “The campers sat around the blazing fire, roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories.” The word “blazing” also means very hot: “This blazing sun is so hot, I bet we could fry eggs on the sidewalk!” Sometimes “blazing” means very angry: “Don’t make him mad. He has a blazing temper.” As a noun, a “blaze” is a large fire: “The firefighters have nearly put out the blaze downtown.” Finally, the phrase “a blaze of glory” refers to a lot of public attention and admiration and praise for one’s work: “All politicians dream of ending their term of office in a blaze of glory, but few of them do.”

Culture Note
Snow and Ice Sculpting Events

In a snow and ice “sculpting” (carving) event, artists “carve” (cut away pieces of something to change the shape) “giant” (very large) “blocks” (cubes; solid forms) of ice to create “sculptures” (three-dimensional art) for people to enjoy. They use small hand tools like “chisels” (a small, sharp metal tip on a long handle, used for carving), as well as handheld and power “saws” (tools used for cutting, normally for cutting wood) to create surprisingly “delicate” (fragile and with many small details) sculptures.

One of the largest “such” (of this kind) events in the United States is the Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships, sponsored by “Budweiser” (a brand of beer) and held in Breckenridge, Colorado. The artists “compete” (try to prove that they can do something better than anyone else) in “teams” (groups of people working together) for a period of 65 hours, carving blocks of snow that weigh 40,000 pounds and are 12 feet tall.

Alaska is home to a similar event, the BP World Ice Art Championships, which “spans” (lasts for a period of time) an entire month, with 70 teams competing to create the most “impressive” (causing other people to admire something) sculptures. The event also includes a Frozen Kids Park with many “slides” (objects that children sit on and then slide down, pulled by gravity), “rides” (machines that move people around in exciting ways for entertainment), and “mazes” (labyrinths; designs that one must walk through and try to find a way out) made of snow and ice.

Finally, since 1922, Michigan Technology University has held a Winter “Carnival” (festival; celebration) in which students create snow sculptures related to the “theme” (main idea) for the year.

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - b