Some people say everything is relative, and I tend to believe that myself. And really, I can think of no example in which it is truer than when it comes to weather.
Think about it: 58⁰ sounds great in January, but here in the midwest, we’d recoil in horror and crawl back under the covers if we hit 58 in August. Sure, we ride the roller-coaster of highs and lows, but we generally enjoy a reasonably pleasant climate.
Yet the truth is, I am a complete and total weather wimp. I bundle up if it's less than 65 or 70 degrees out, and I'm miserable if it's over 80. If I were being totally honest, I'd have to say that I'm only actually comfortable in about a 7-degree range of temperature. This is not to say that I'm a complainer about it; I tend to try to keep this under wraps, so to speak. But that does not equate to happiness, or even a modicum of comfort.
It’s the norm for me to find myself surrounded by people wearing much lighter attire than I am. At home, I’m the one in the turtleneck under a sweater with the aptly-named warm-up jacket over it. The hubby’s in shirts sleeves, asking, “Is it warm in here?” It is not.
On one of our recent days of record-setting warmth, I noticed that I was hurrying in to the supermarket because I was only wearing a light jacket, while others were sauntering through the parking lot in tee shirts and shorts. And yet, during air conditioning season, I don’t even dare to venture into the frozen food aisles. If I’m in shorts, and I absolutely must grab a bag of frozen peas, my teeth chatter and I morph into a Mom-sicle. I guess my internal thermostat is out of whack.
In February of this year I flew out of town when the mercury read 34⁰. Not bad for the season, certainly when I look back at the record setting low temperatures accompanied by ice and snow which we had experienced only a few weeks earlier. All the same, I wore my heavy winter coat. Of course.
My first flight took me to Las Vegas. Upon landing, our pilot announced that it was 63⁰. A collective gasp was heard. The couple beside me began to strategize their move into survivalist mode. They were Vegas residents who had thought they would be coming home to warm weather. I thought 63 was warm for February, (or as close to warm as I’m likely to get), but to these Nevadans, this was a serious cold snap.
“Are they nuts?” I thought to myself. “They don’t know what cold really is! They should experience the joys of a Midwest winter, complete with below-zero wind chills if they want a real blast.” I personally frown upon the grousing types. (After all, we are here to judge.)
As I took a seat in the airport awaiting the next leg of my trip, I couldn’t help overhearing several more conversations about the unexpectedly cold temps. Again, my inner voice piped up. “Geez, Louise, don’t these people know when they’re well off?” I wondered.
When we lined up for boarding, I found myself next to a couple from Iowa, who had also been on my first flight. They were rolling their eyes and laughing about the "weenies" who think 63⁰ is an emergency situation. I laughed along with them, and agreed that they didn't know what 'cold' was.
Ninety minutes later I deplaned in Sacramento, my destination city. Temperature: 60 degrees. Conditions: sunny, with a light breeze. My daughter pulled up at the curb to greet me. She was dressed in a business suit and heels. I was in wool pants, a long-sleeved shirt, a wool cardigan sweater, and my heavy coat. Zipped up. All the way. She looked at me and said, "Your winter coat? You’re in California!" I know, I said, but it's three degrees colder than Vegas.