Brrrrr! · 3 December 2011

[Believe it or not, I do not really like to complain much. But I have been cold. Coincidentally, I have not been able to come up with something brand new for this week. So I brought out a piece about the cold that did not make it online when I wrote it a couple years ago. Not because it was substandard (I am not sure how low that would be) but because the weather and I got warmer. Maybe it will get warm now because I finally posted this.]

I have been cold all week. At work, at home, everywhere. It has been cold. Not that I am complaining. To quote Marty Feldman as Igor in the movie Young Frankenstein, “It could be worse; it could be raining.” And while freezing rain is worse than snow, having no power is worse still. While my memory may not always be the best, I do remember just a few years ago writing at least one column by firelight. With a pen and paper no less. So while I am not really complaining, I do think it is cold.

I am not exactly sure why I think it is cold. As a matter of fact, one of my students thinks it is almost balmy. Paul hails from Minnesota where it gets really cold. In the past few years, he has worn open-toed sandals almost every day of the year. Sometimes he sounds like an old man. He chastises students who wish for a couple inches of snow so school will be canceled with stories of how it was back in Minnesota, where regardless of how deep the snow was, there was still school. Paul has even called other students “young whipper snappers,” even though he is far too young to use that term on anybody. The English language usage police might need to give him a citation for underaged idiom usage. Then again, they might let him off because while he is too young to use the term, somehow it fits. Except when he uses “whipper snapper” as a term for me when I say how cold I am.

This, of course, brings us back to the subject at hand. It is cold. Perhaps not Minnesota cold, but cold enough that I am cold. I used to be like Paul thinking that temperatures in the teens and twenties were not that cold. After all, we experienced cold like that day in and day out growing up in Spokane. I remember waiting for the bus when it was so cold that breathing in caused our snot to freeze in our noses. (If we had thought about it, we might have figured out that our breathing was creating little ice crystals in our nostrils from any moisture in the air rather than freezing the snot that was not there.)

Which brings me to why I think I am cold. Humidity seems to make extreme temperatures more extreme. Hot seems hotter and cold seems colder with more humidity. The bite of winter gets through more layers of clothes with more humidity. Or so it seems.

My students, my kids, and other young people seem to shrug off the cold. Even those not from Minnesota. They do not wear coats and many wander around in jeans and T-shirts like it is balmy weather. It is like they have no cold receptors in their bodies. Or like they have their own heaters in their pockets. Or in their bodies. I read a book that said kids generate their own heat. Apparently, they create enough heat that they do not need 17 layers of clothing to stay warm on these cold days like I do.

While I do not wish to be young again and go through the angst and anxiety of being a teenager in today’s world, I would like to be able to generate heat like young people do. Then I would not need to complain about the cold. Then again, I might not have much to write about if I was not complaining about something.

© 2011 Michael T. Miyoshi

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