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Eric Bergeson column: Is winter driving you crazy yet?

Is winter driving you nuts?

You aren't alone. The signs are everywhere. People are on the verge of losing it. Some have already gone over the edge, poor souls.

Last week, I went to town for gas. It wasn't a necessary trip. I could have waited.

When I got to the station, there were 13 other people on the same mission.

They weren't there for gas. They were there to get out of the house.

In fact, I forgot to put in gas. I just grabbed some coffee and visited until I felt like I had worn out my welcome.

This time of winter, any excuse to go to town will do.

Three ants appeared on my kitchen counter last week, so I made a trip to town for ant killer. Of course, I forgot to get milk.

But did you know that milk tastes better if you make an entire trip to town devoted solely to buying milk? If you need gas, it is best to let that wait for its own trip, too.

I escaped winter for a month, but when you do that, winter tends to make up for lost time when you return.

This year, I decided to fight back. How? I would give in to the urge to go to town. Get out daily. Visit with people. That would be my answer.

Three consecutive days last week I was in a local café for my noon meal, visiting up and down the booths.

It is good to be amongst people, although some of them are obviously as crazy as I am. Everybody's mind is whirling in circles over something or other -- past misdeeds, or medical problems, or wrongs done to them, or possible conspiracies afloat around town.

But no matter how crazy we all are, being crazy together in public is better than being crazy in the confines of one's home, where one's own craziness just bounces off a wall and comes right back at you.

Just when I thought I had found a solution to February craziness, winter dealt its trump card: Disease.

The uncommon cold, I call it. Nothing this miserable can be common.

Again, I am not alone. People all over are suffering. But the problem is, you can't get together to lessen the misery of your common colds. You just don't feel like it.

For one thing, any use of one's head, including using it to talk, makes a cold feel worse. Depending upon the stage of the cold, talking either makes one's throat raw, or it causes vibrations that tickle the nose and make you sneeze, or it tickles the throat and makes you cough.

You are left to stay home so you don't expose others, and so you don't have to drift far from your Kleenex box. Nothing worse than trying to pull apart a golf ball-sized wad from your back pocket in hopes of finding a usable spot.

When a cold hits in February, sanity becomes a real problem. And mind-muddling cold medicine doesn't help. Forget heavy machinery, I can't manage a flight of stairs when I am on the stuff.

With a bad cold, you have a choice: Either you overdose on cold medicine and have a clear nose, or you take only what they say in the directions and maintain a clear mind. You can't have both.

The temptation is to sleep all day between bouts of coughing. But if you have a fever and are on lots of drugs, the dreams can get bizarre.

Last night, with my veins pumped with multi-symptom cold tabs and a little bump of Nyquil thrown on top, I fell into a deep sleep -- only to spend the entire night trying to stop an army of football-sized wood ticks from advancing across I-29.

I tried to dial 911, but I couldn't remember the number. So, I tried to call the NDSU football team for help. No answer at the Fargodome. So, I had to save the Red River Valley from wood ticks all by myself.

Is it any wonder I woke up in a cold sweat?

And is it any wonder we're all desperate for spring -- when we have the luxury of worrying about real, live wood ticks?