I knew that title would get attention.
Sitting inside warm and cozy while cold, rainy, snowy, sleety, yucky weather roars outside, I wonder about the long-term ramifications of being housebound.
Do people gain weight because of a double whammy - eating more and not exercising?
Speaking from personal experience, it is difficult not to put on a few extra ounces lounging inside while watching the white stuff fall outside. The longer confined indoors, the more ounces appear, surreptitiously but inevitably, on my body. I am sure there is some mathematical equation computing bad weather, confinement indoors, eating, and ounces gained. Preparing and eating culinary delights is a major indoor activity during periods of forced confinement.
There are other activities to be enjoyed while sealed indoors.
There have been studies, some completed as far back as the 1960s and 70s, attempting to discover whether weather-related catastrophes produce baby windfalls months later.
Initially studies debunked the theory, but more recent investigations cite minor upturns.
A study in the UK found an uptick in births in September and October 2010, nine months after record-breaking snowstorms blanketed the nation.
Of course parents home with a houseful of young ones, attempting to keep them occupied, out of trouble, and preventing them from destroying the home, are not necessarily the ones cozying up to a loved one, with a roaring fire and solitude precursors to some adult fun.
Nine months after Super Storm Sandy pommeled New Jersey, hospitals along the shore reported an increase in births. Atlanticare Medical Center reported a 25% increase.
Living in South Jersey at the time this once-in-700 year storm hit (and if you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like you to take a look at…), lots of people evacuated. Stuffed in shelters or the homes of relatives and friends, I doubt most people found the environment conducive to romantic interludes. Add the stress of not knowing whether or not you would have a home upon returning, the conditions leaned more towards nerve-racking, combative occasions rather than romantic ones.
On the other hand a lot of people remained trapped in their homes, power out, with no choice but to cuddle and keep warm under heavy quilts…
There are additional consequences of storms. Marriage rates sometimes tick up. The divorce rate increases too, especially when disasters result in major physical damage, job losses, and other personal problems. The divorce rate increased 10% following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
I wonder if anyone ever studied whether people indulged in more sex during the long, dark nights and confining days of winter than during the other seasons of the year before the invention of electricity.
The days are slowly, almost imperceptibly getting longer, a few minutes more of light every few days. Additional storms are on the horizon, according to our ubiquitous 24/7 news channels, but I choose to ignore the forewarnings days in advance.
I am rooting for an early spring. I know the groundhog saw its shadow and that means six more weeks of winter, but no groundhog is going to depress me.
I look forward to no more confinement indoors, no more bitter cold, gray days, no more layering sweaters, heavy coats, hats and gloves...
And to those expecting a bundle of joy in a few months, I say – Congratulations! - while heaving an enormous sigh of relief that I am not the one with a growing belly.
Although I think a few extra ounces embedded themselves on my stomach over the past few weeks.