My buddy Charlie hates the heat. He’s always preferred a dreary winter night over basking in warm sunshiny rays of summer. For all the decades I have known him, whenever the man steps outside into the bright sun, he audibly grunts and hisses like Frankenstein’s monster being poked back by threatened villagers with flaming torches. So, it has always struck me as odd that not once but twice, he has moved out to Southern California, the land of the signature Beach Boy’s warm endless summer.
I guess the twists and turns that make up a lifetime rarely go as expected. The real-world desires and duties of work and love often ignore a person’s personal weather and regional preferences when arbitrarily dropping you somewhere like Dorthey’s house unexpectedly getting plopped down in the short suburbs way outside OZ City limits. Personally, I’d have thought the chances were better this Florida transplanted New Yorker urbanite would have settled in Munchkinland before digging roots in Texas. But that’s where I have been for almost two decades.
Through all the crazy changes my personal universe has gone through, one thing that has been consistent is my weather preferences. It is true that I adore an occasional snowstorm and even a few weeks of bundle-up chilly coldness. But winter up north is way, way too damn long. I’m done with the snow, sweaters, and shivers by the end of December. You get rid of January through April and I’d be happy. Maybe I’ll Tweet Mr. Trump about getting that taken care of; that seems like the type of battle he would champion. It could only help business at Mar-a-Lago.
I do not miss months of cold bathroom floors, pulling off layers of clothing every time you walk into an overheated building, the frozen face feeling where you can’t tell if your nose is running or getting up an hour early to dig your car out of the snow to make the miserable slow slushy commute to work. Maybe global warming will take care of all that someday but for now I’m living in the South. But who knows what the future may bring? I gave up predicting.
Northern Texas winters get a few sad grey-skied days in the teens and an occasional accumulation of snow but they aren’t endlessly dreary like those months are in the ‘four-letter’ States. Charlie seems to almost thrive on the winter bleakness of Ohio, where he currently resides. My wife’s family is in Iowa where the rolling farming fields are beautiful in the lush summer but just look sad and desolate in the icy depths of winter. Between family and friends in both, I have spent way more a winter day in those two states then I ever would have expected.
Years ago, I was working a contract job in Minnesota and doing a Dan version of dating a woman in Wisconsin. I wonder what my feelings would be about winter if either of those temporary experiences became more permanent. Minnesotans seem to wear their winters as a pragmatic badge of honor, as if frigid survival is the only option for existence. Wisconsinites seem to take a more laissez-faire approach and just ignore the obvious discomforts by declaring November to March as bar season.
Its been decades since I have spent a full long harsh winter up North. Now despite all the snarky comments I’ve heard tossed at me by you jealous Northern parka people, I know scientifically that blood does not become thinner living in a warm climate. I would counter that my winter wussy-ness has developed because of a wise-ness to avoid discomfort. I don’t burn up my hands because I’ve learned not to stick them in a fire. I’ve lost my tolerance for the cold because I am smart enough to stay out of that crap for prolonged time periods.
But I don’t mock you folks up there. I don’t send taunting photos of me swimming in the pool in November or wearing shorts in February. I’ve been around long enough to know that I can’t predict the future and poking karma with a stick is not really wise. I made fun of Texas for years and look where I ended up. I don’t want to invest in thermal unders and galoshes.