09 December 2013

What we do in December

The temperature is in the mid-40s and rainy here in beautiful suburban Atlanta. It relative terms, that's not that cold. But relativity dies where you live when it comes to weather. 80 degrees here could feel something like the inside of a dog's intestinal track in northern Russia. I say this not to be reasonable, but to justify my behavior yesterday.

We had just had a lovely dinner celebrating a friend's birthday in one of the nicer restaurants in town. We all leave, buzzing with the excitement of the evening, each others' company, and a little wine, and as soon as the "frigid" air and drizzle hits us we turn into a batch of adolescent girls in sight of a cockroach.

What makes the cold so miserable? I daresay it's got to be relative.

I enjoy the cold. I really do. I much prefer it to be under freezing than over boiling the way it gets here in the south come July and August. But those days of 90+ misery and pain temper one's grit in such a way that is detrimental to the colder climes which hit about this time of year. It's training for a combat mission in Somalia, then getting shipped over to the Arctic Circle.

This begs the question of what I prefer to call "clean" cold. I went to graduate school with a Swedish woman who moved here after marrying an American gent. She confessed that the winters here (meaning, get this, Georgia) are worse than the winters in Sweden. Go ahead and read that again. Why? She used the word "raw". Describing cold weather as being raw is a bit anomalous and unclear. Somehow "dirty" works better to my aesthetic. The difference is that clean cold leaves you feeling just that way: clean. It's crisp and a little uncomfortable, but it feels nice. It feels, you know, refreshing. "Dirty" cold leaves you feeling like you want to take the next ticket out of town because this dung-heep of unpleasantness is polluting your life. That's what sleet, freezing rain, or just plain cold rain make me feel. Damp and cold has got to be worse than damp and warm.

So not only are we poor souls used to the sweltering brick oven that is the Confederate States in summer, we're being pelted with the dirtiest of cold weather. We don't have a chance. That, and we're all just a bunch of babies. 

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