Friday, February 11, 2011

Cold

This winter has been a cold one here, but there for a few years we didn’t have very much of a winter at all. It would be cold at night, and early in the morning, but then the sun would come out and warm the world up again. If the weather was wet, it got warmer, and even if a front followed the rain there would only be a few days of cold weather before the pattern repeated itself again. Living in The South means never having to stay very cold for very long, and I have always been a warm weather creature. I love the warmth of the sun and I have always assumed I was part reptile because I do so poorly in cooler weather. But again, cold weather never sticks around very long here.
            The last couple of years have shown us the weather can be cold, and it can be cold and cold until it gets old. I remember last year there was ice in the pond for nearly a month and that is unheard of in South Georgia. This year seems not to be as bad, but still, the cold weather has moved in and stuck around longer than a relative without a job. The heating bills have climber higher than the mercury, and the idea of being outside in this stuff is as alien as snowshoes or snow shovels but Atlanta was snowed in for nearly a week. It’s getting to the point where Global Warming might not be such a bad idea after all, you know.
            The people I know in northern places are suffering far worse than I, and those who have recently migrated in that direction are openly questioning their sanity. People who are accustomed to nights in January and February where the lows might actually hit freezing are now living in places where the high at noon won’t peak out past the point where ice begins to melt. I cannot imagine living in a place where the temperature gets below zero. How can you have a negative temperature? To whom do you owe heat to at that point? Is it you’re overdrawn or borrowed too much in August? Negative temperatures means you should follow the geese when they head South. It means it is too cold for people to live there unless they enjoy being unhappy. It means there is not only no heat, but you  will lose heat to the cold quicker than you can say, “BRRRR!”
            I’m going to invent a bed that will allow a person to have their dogs in bed with them for warmth without that annoy problem of having a large dog, or three, crowd that person to the edge of the bed and of reason. I think it will be like a hammock, where the human is suspended just above the bed, with the dogs lying underneath. There will be covered for the dogs that allow their heat to rise up to where the person is sleeping, and keep them warm at the same time. Mine are comfortable outside until it gets around 40, and then they start wanting to come in and sleep. I cannot imagine how anyone keeps a dog in negative temperatures without God striking them dead.
            Bert, when he was younger, used to play in water in freezing temperatures. A pipe busted outside and he ran back and forth under the spray until ice formed on his coat and hung down off of him. He was in heaven. Wet, cold, young and invincible, Bert thought it was the high point of the day. I had to do plumbing in icy water so I was less than enthused about the whole thing. Bert was disappointed when I fixed the leak, and to add insult to injury I had to bury it where he couldn’t get to it from that point on.
            I once lived in Wisconsin, for an entire winter, and I can tell you I didn’t much like it, even though I was young and invincible. I didn’t realize cold could be dangerous, and fairly quickly, too. I didn’t realize a rive you had swam in during the Summer was a place you could drive in the winter. That was mind blowing. I had never really walked on ice and suddenly I was driving a car out on it. It is wrong, fundamentally and acutely wrong, to be in a place that cold. It goes against nature. It is in some religion out there, I am certain of this, sinful, and an abomination. Well, it ought to be. Didn’t Stalin send people to Siberia for punishment? What does that tell you about cold places? Even Stalin thought cold was cruel. It’s odd the constitution mentions “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” but doesn’t say a thing about having the right to be warm. There is a lot to be said about not being cold but even more that can be said about being warm.
            When I was surveying for a living everyone on the crew had this thing about not being cold. Everyone could be sitting there with their teeth chattering and no one would turn the heater on. In fact, one day I mentioned that it was just too damn hot in the van, and so I rolled the window down. It was about fifteen degrees that day. Everyone else in the van rolled down their windows too, and the four of us rode for nearly an hour in misery rather than admit it was cold. When you got to the job site I stripped down to my tee shirt and complained about the heat, and so the other guys followed suit. We spent the entire day being mistaken for a gang of Smurfs and yet not a one of us would cover up or roll up a window before someone else did.
            I’ve seen colder weather than what we have now, but that doesn’t negate the fact that it is cold, and I do not like it.

Take Care,
Mike

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