1. The state of the water.
In winter, our over 10,000 lakes freeze making the perfect setting for people to skate and sit shivering in fishing shanties, hoping for a bite. In summer, we enjoy our water by swimming, fishing in the comfort of this balmy season, and boating.
2. How fish is prepared.
To boil or fry, that is the question. Fish fries were traditionally held in the winter, but now they are common on Friday nights all year. Fish boils, on the other hand, happen under warm, evening skies, with the stars just starting to sparkle.
3. What you wear on your feet when you play outdoors.
Winter is for snowshoes; summer is for hiking boots.
4. If the seasons were a house guest.
When winter is rudely and stubbornly overstaying its visit, we don’t even pretend to be nice — despite our ingrained Midwestern hospitality. Summer is that easy and comfortable house guest whom you want to stay. “Please,” you beg, “just stay a bit longer. It’s so much better when you are here. I am happier, I am a better person.” Luckily, fall isn’t too bad either because it’s season that knows how to throw a good holiday party or two. But you know who comes after that.
5. What you wear under your belt.
Snow pants vs. shorts. Sometimes Wisconsinites wear shorts in winter if it’s not too cold — you know, anything above a balmy 40.
6. How you take your cider.
Winter likes it steaming, with a hint of cinnamon, ideally with a frosty, snowy landscape to look out at. Summer is all about that hard cider — because it’s time to celebrate.
7. Your relationship with Netflix.
In winter, your relationship will never be better. You will spend lots of quality time together, discovering new interests you have in common and delving into serious heart-to-hearts about fashion, narcotics trafficking, and the political situation in DC.
In summer, you’re not sure you are on the same screen anymore — you just want to spend time doing different things with other people, outside. You’re not breaking up; you’re taking a break.
8. What you push around.
This one’s easy. Look outside — is the grass growing or there snow on the ground? Walk to the garage and grab the lawnmower or snow blower.
9. Your level of commitment to the dairy state.
I would say Wisconsinites are a loyal bunch, but talk to one in the dead of winter and they will surely be muttering, “Get me the hell out of here,” under their ski mask. In summer, on the other hand, try to lure a Wisconsinite out of the state and you will have to drag them kicking and screaming away from their lakefront roost and Spotted Cow beer.
10. What you put on your feet, round 2.
Whether you are at Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee or on a paved path on Milwaukee’s lakefront will determine if you are wearing the ice skates or roller blades.
11. What you are allowed to complain about.
No one likes a complainer, but it is 100% acceptable to gripe and moan about the cold in winter and mosquitoes in the summer.
12. If you can see three feet in front of you.
Darkness or light? This question does not only refer to the position of the sun — it also refers to people’s general moods and outlooks on life. Does life feel horrible or wonderful? Did you just spend the last three hours shoveling heavy snow or sitting in the sun with a great book? Did you just fall painfully on the ice or gracefully on the grass?
13. Why you can’t find parking.
They say there are only two seasons in Wisconsin: construction season and winter. You will never be able to find parking anywhere in Wisconsin, but the culprit will be different depending on the season. In winter, it will be the snow drifts and ploughing schedules. In summer, it will be because everyone wants to be downtown to enjoy the festival of the day and because it’s construction season so every possible street is torn up.
14. How you tailgate party.
The grub and drinks will be pretty much the same, but what you wear and who you cheer for will definitely be determined by the season. Green + gold + camo + multiple layers = winter. Blue + gold + as few layers as possible = summer.