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Monday, December 9, 2013

Sweatin' to the Weather Report

Sorry, snowbound and freezing northern friends, but I just went shopping in a denim skirt and sandals. In December. Music pumped into the store included a (not very good) rendition of "Baby, It's Cold Outside." I drove home with shirt sweaty and hair sticking to my neck. The irony. 
My elementary-school teachers decorated bulletin boards with colorful "autumn leaves" in September, and enormous white snowflakes in December. To a kid in Florida, they were as familiar as craters of the moon, or rings of Saturn, often depicted, but still exotically foreign. One "winter," weathermen said there might be some snow in central Florida. Our teachers peeped out the door every few minutes. One finally said, "I think I see some," and all classrooms emptied. We stood on the playground like turkeys in a hard rain, hoping to spot a flake. "I caught one," cried a classmate, and we gathered around. A tiny bit of gray fluff sat on her hand, looking like a bit of ash. It didn't melt. Turns out it was a bit of ash. 
When temps were supposed to drop below freezing, my mother let me and my brothers set out a little dish of water overnight. In the morning, it was ice! On our porch! I've learned since that home bakers in the Dakotas sometimes store their holiday pies on the back porch, a natural freezer. Perspective. 
So, every winter, I have this cognitive dissonance. I sit here sweating, even as great fronts roll across the continent, solidifying water pipes and disguising cars as sleeping white mammoths. It's said that everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it. My request for someone more wise in the ways of science: can't we rig up something that would at least average things out? I'd happily trade about twenty degrees of warmth with Michigan. Hmm? Anybody?

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