I come from Poland, so, as you can probably imagine, we have often cold winters here.
It all happened when I went to university and was looking for a room in the new city. I made a deal with one guy, but he left me in the lurch at the last moment. The semester started, and I had no place to live, but my two friends from high school - who had moved to the same city – saved me and let me stay for a while in their place (empty flat of one of them uncle). It was one room with a kitchen really, but the room was quite big, so three people could easily stay in it.
There was only one catch. No heating.
However, we had a small furnace. Not a fireplace – a furnace. Not much, but enough to heat a flat that small. Unfortunately, the place itself was in a very poor condition – we had leaky doors and the entire building had very thin walls, so the heat was escaping very fast. My friends learned quickly that regular coal burning with only two people is problematic, so eventually I stayed there for the whole year. After all, it was dirt-cheap and I lived with mates.
Now, when you know the context, let's get to the main story. This happened four months later, when I was finishing the first semester. It was the end of January, the time of lowest temperatures in our country. Frost on the outside, snow everywhere. And we had a furnace
At the end of the semester, students on my university must collect the grades on a special report card, before they’ll go on winter holidays. My roommates went their homes at Saturday, when I was still missing three signatures. I was going to receive them from teachers on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, so a weekend trip to home didn’t make sense for me. I lit a fire on Sunday morning with the plan of doing this for the next three days. At the time, the outside was about -10 degrees.
How great must have been my fear in the eyes when at the evening, in the basement, I discovered that coal is over.
Our supply of coal was from the parents of one of my mates, so I wasn’t really worrying about it. In fact, the entire previous week I was the one, who lit the fire (I was returning from lectures first), and the other two brought a coal from the cellar, so I really didn’t notice that the supply is low. And that geniuses didn’t warn me that now it’s over.
I could possibly buy a coal, but - firstly - I had no idea where. Yes, there is Internet to check it, but secondly - I had no way to transport it to the flat. And third - as I said earlier, it was the end of the month, so the money was a serious problem. Honestly, I had to decide - heat or food. I chose food.
Anyway, I had to stay in this place somehow. I hadn’t more friends in the city who could put me up, I lived there only a few months. I couldn’t take the train every day to parents too – it would be humiliating, time-consuming, and I also hadn’t cash for it. Meanwhile, without heating, in a few hours air temperature in the flat fell around zero. And I had to sleep there in the next three days. What did I do?
I decided to survive.
I put on two pairs of pants and socks, sweatshirt and hoodie (all on my pajamas), covered myself with the quilt and four blankets I think. Then I took a laptop to bed. I even put adapter from the charger between my feet to get them warmed. Normally it would burn, but in those conditions it wasn’t even close to this.
And then... I started to play FM.
It was the only game I had on my hard drive, since I bought laptop in October. And I had to heat up the laptop to the maximum capability. So I loaded the largest database I was able to. And played. For three days without a break. The computer was my only source of heat on this Antarctic.
With the bed leaving only for food, to the bathroom, and once a day going out to get a signature (which lasted one hour max.), I spend three days like this. I slept short, because trust me, sleeping at refrigerator is not too comfortable. Not only it’s difficult to go to sleep, but also a man wakes up in such conditions very early. And since I couldn’t sleep - I played. I think much more than a total of 50 hours. In the cold.
At this point, I even started to regret that I bought such a good laptop - that maybe if I would bought a weaker one, it would warm me more! Yes, I was truly desperate.
I don’t think this survival was dangerous for my life, but for my health – for sure. When I moved there, I slept two weeks on military mattress, and I caught a cold after two days. In autumn!
However, I came out of this unscathed. Paraphrasing the title of the book - Football Manager saved my life. In some way. I guess.
Sorry for eventual grammar mistakes and cheers from Poland