Thursday, April 23, 2009

Team Cold

***NOTE*** Temperatures will appear as Celsius/Fahrenheit.

I knew I'd reached new heights of coldness one evening when I stated to my overly warm blooded husband, "I'm cold." "You're cold?" he said, ever incredulous at my low blood temperature, "Well, I'm not cold now, but I'm about to be." I think he deemed it to be the most insane proclamation he'd ever heard: a preemptive declaration of coldness.

We were about to go out and the jacket I wanted to wear was in the car. I knew I would be cold on the walk from the apartment to the car, a state I was concerned to be in, hence I stated it as "I'm cold." I had to hear about it the whole car ride to our destination. Luckily that destination was only five minutes away. Even luckier was that the destination was our beloved Tiki Ti and with all the drink consumed, I was no longer cold.

Coldness is something I have had to deal with all my life. I spent most of my childhood winters watching television in my parent's bedroom, seated over the central heating duct. I'm surprised I took to it as I did after an earlier childhood experience could have scarred me for life. My dad, after fixing his track pants over the duct to warm them up, decided to hide in the bathroom and call out to me in a ghostly voice"Simone....I've fallen down the duct!" When I came into the room and found his pants inflated, resembling legs, I ran out of the room screaming to my mum for help as I really feared for his life. Thankfully I overcame this trauma and the duct and I went on to have a strong and healthy relationship for many years.

If I ever needed a quick burst of warmth, I would pause and take my position over the corridor duct. There is nothing to do in the corridor but walk to your required room or sit on the duct. One night, after my sister had fallen asleep in the living room, my mum attempted to carry her to bed, didn't see me on the duct, tripped on me, hit her head on the wall and dropped my sister. My heat addiction had reached new heights by endangering others.

The earth's core: hell or heaven?

The introduction of an electric blanket into my bed might have been my greatest downfall. That, coupled with the television in my bedroom kept me tucked away while most kids were (gasp) outside. There were a lot of stories about electric blankets causing house fires and my dad was forever on my case to turn it off. But as the blanket took at least 30 minutes to reach its maximum temperature and I fancied naps immediately upon my return home from school, the blanket stayed on all day and all night. I believe it's possible that the blanket remained on its highest setting for up to six solid months. I now have an electric blanket for my bed, an electric throw for the couch and one that plugs into the cigarette lighter for the car. When I go to visit Stephanie in Seattle, given the city's close proximity to the Arctic (close enough for me, anyway) I send a combination of text messages and emails ahead of time to make sure the whereabouts of the spare electric blanket are known. The blanket in question was purchased before my first visit, for my visit.

The car blanket. It's real.

When the glory of summertime hits, what should be the most comfortable days of the year are foiled by the air-conditioning, so a heater runs at my feet under my desk at work. I would have to say that air conditioning is the bane of my existence. Sure, I understand it, and hot dog, I even use it! But what baffles me is that most people apparently spend all winter looking forward to summer, but then it comes and what do they do? Turn on the A/C to temperatures equal to that of a moderate winter. Why make it so cold? I don't understand. It's summer. It's a time to wear light clothing. Why make it so a cardigan is required on a 40/100 plus degree day? When it is hot, I feel like we should be embracing the warmth. Too hot? Then make it about 22/71. I find even that too cold, but I am trying to compromise. Ideally, I would like things to be 27/80 degrees at all times. In bed, I require less what with all the covers, but the rest of the time, that temperature is ideal. I can drop down to 24/76 and work well with others, but these "hotties" are unwilling to work with me.

Hear, hear!

I like nothing more on a sunny winter day to get in the car that has been warmed by the sun and bask in the heat as a relief from the biting cold. But often I'm with some monster who opens all the windows immediately. What's going on?! We were just trying to escape that horror and now you are letting it back in! It's like a suspense movie where the people always go UP the stairs. These lunatics just keep letting the enemy in.

After a long time of feeling isolated with my temperature needs, I would occasionally come across someone who felt the same as I did. What I then realised is that there are two of us and one hot person, we win. The windows remain closed, the heater on and two thirds of a room or car population are happy. I then created an organisation called Team Cold for the express purpose of identification and unification against the powers that keep A/C on and windows open.

One example of Team Cold was getting my sister-in-law on board and agreeing to hold strong against the ridiculous "hot" complaints of her brother, my husband. One day, after a good long exposure to the car heater, I actually started to feel hot. But as a member of Team Cold, I hushed. I presumed Gwynne was cold, so I sucked it up. As it turns out, she was overcooked too, and it was a great relief once the revelation was made, but at least we were both looking out for each other's interests.

One Team Cold member who was on thin ice was my sister, Rebecca. Once a proud and eager member, too much window opening in moving cars caused for some chastising from the president (me, of course) and her membership to come into question. She very much wanted to remain a member, so to assess her commitment, an evaluation was conducted.

Initial assessment form for new Team Cold applicant

Notes taken on my sister as she attempted to be accepted back into Team Cold a couple of years ago.

A pre-creation of what a successful Team Cold can achieve.

As cold as I am, I believe I finally met my match. While Rebecca scored poorly in her efforts to re-join Team Cold, she was awarded points for getting her friend Lisa on the case. Lisa is hands down the coldest person I have known. As we drove home in a car together, Lisa was happiest with the heater on full blast for the entire 45 minute journey. Even I was starting to sweat, but Lisa was only mildly appeased. In the spirit of Team Cold, I did not argue for temperature reduction though I wanted it. It was at this moment that I did what I felt I had to do which was to award the Presidency over to Lisa. Clearly she had what it took to take Team Cold into the future and pass laws for all A/C units to go no lower than 22/72, though perhaps she will foil us all and have air conditioning outlawed entirely. Shit.

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