Thursday, January 18, 2007

Cold makes me angry

For the past week, it has been very cold here in my corner of the world - teens to thirties, no snow, no ice, just cold. Yes, I know how fiercely this cold front has hit other parts of the country, but this is about me. First of all, I lived in warm, sunny South Florida the first half of my life, where the temperature dipping below 70 is feared more than an impending hurricane. Second, my body mass index is so low I would not be allowed to be a runway model in three countries.

Consequently, I am colder than everyone around me. My hands and feet are numb all the time. My nose, also numb, runs until Spring. From time to time, I soak my hands in hot water so my fingers will bend again. This is while I'm indoors. I've learned to cope by wearing four more layers than everyone else and generally looking pathetic (whimpering helps) in the hope someone will take pity and turn the heat up a few degrees. The five minutes I spend outdoors in a given winter day (car to building, building to car) put me in full, adrenaline-pumping, fight-or-flight mode. You do not want to stand between me and warmth. I will cut you open and crawl inside your steaming carcass.

At home I park in the garage, so I don't have to deal with a car that is cold as the grave, but I park outside at work. When I get into my frigid car at lunch and at 5:00, all the life-sustaining warmth has drained away. I turn into a raging lunatic, with Tourette's. I rail at the radio: "THAT SONG IS NINE YEARS OLD. How can you call yourselves THE EDGE?" Until the car warms up, every other driver on the road gets a profane tongue-lashing: "CAN YOU TURN ANY SLOWER? Maybe all of the bumper stickers on your car are weighing you down. Can you even see out your back window?" (One sticker is a rainbow silhouette of a cat. Is it advocating gay cat pride? I'm not against gay cats, but I didn't know there was a movement. Are they being oppressed?) "Do you really think bumper stickers make a damn bit of difference? Did you buy the matching T-shirt, too? Free Tibet!"

As my blood thaws and begins coursing through my veins again, my teeth unclench and my anger disappears. I'm telling you, if there is a Hell, it is cold. That gnashing of teeth you feel? Frostbite. That weeping and moaning you hear? Me. Oh, there's a lake of fire, but they won't throw you in it, no matter how much you beg.

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