Monday, November 12, 2012

Freezing in Phoenix: Sad but True

When I moved from Brooklyn to Phoenix a little over 17 years ago my main motivation was winter. You see, I’m not a big fan of winter—at least not the stereotypical one with the snow and the ice and the temperatures dipping so low that the snot freezes to your upper lip within seconds of leaving your apartment. I know that moving to get away from the cold is usually thought of as something done by the frail or elderly, not by a healthy young man in his mid-twenties, but the truth is, I don’t have a lot of body fat and I required so many layers of clothing to keep myself warm that I often had to walk sideways just to get through doors. Also, I never had the proper coordination to get my fingers into the right glove holes, so I was forced to wear mittens, which was embarrassing on blind dates.

So it was that I moved to the appropriately named Valley of the Sun back in 1995. I traded in my mittens for sunglasses and I’ve never looked back. But a funny thing happens after years of living in a climate where the high temperatures stay well above 100­-degrees for four straight months—you actually get cold more easily. This is why I woke up shivering this past Sunday morning, staggered out of bed, and found that my thermostat said 71-degrees.  Yes, you read that correctly—it was 71-degrees in my house and I was shivering.

I reached for the controls to turn on the heat for the first time in over seven months but then I stopped myself. The idea of needing it to be warmer than 71-degrees suddenly felt preposterous. When I was living in New York I might well have been walking around in shorts in 71-degree weather. What business did I have turning on the heat when it probably made more sense to be opening up the windows?

I was eventually roused from these thoughts by an incessant knocking sound, which turned out to be coming from my knees. Although I did not want to admit it to myself, I was clearly freezing. Still, I refused to touch that thermostat. Instead, I put on a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and a pair of socks—then I wrapped myself up in the nearest blanket.

While I sat huddled on my couch I tried to direct my attention to warm thoughts. I contemplated fireplaces and hot cocoa and then…suddenly…mittens. “No way that’s happening!” I thought. Then I ran into the hallway and turned the heat on to 73.