Strange Case for the Weather
Susie's mother sent me a large box of Honeybell oranges from Florida the other day. It was so sweet of her, but, of course, when you live in a warm place, sending oranges to someone up north where it's cold makes you feel better about traveling and spending money to live where it's warm -- most of the time.
We'd all like to be able to control the weather or, at the very least, to predict what the weather is going to be where we live.
My cold weather clothes do a much better job protecting me from the cold than my hot weather clothes do cooling me when it's hot. There's nothing comparable for hot weather like a heavy coat for cold weather. (I'd say "fur coat," but for some reason most men don't wear fur coats. The closest I ever came was a sheepskin coat I once owned, but I don't think of sheepskin as fur.)
Clothing manufacturers have done a better job, I think, making clothes that keep us warm than they have making clothes that keep us cool.
I've been thinking about clothing because I keep reading in the newspapers how cold Florida has been this winter. It's funny to write "cold" and "Florida" in the same sentence. The temperature got into the teens in Tallahassee recently. Almost two-thirds of the nation has been affected by record low temperatures.
Citrus farmers hate cold weather even more than the rest of us and, of course, oranges hate the cold, too. Gov. Charlie Crist recently declared a state of emergency in Florida due to cold damage to the state's vast fruit and vegetable crops.
I didn't wish a cold snap on the Florida farmers, but we are a bit amused hearing about all the people who went down to Florida to get warm, and ended up cold instead. I'm glad I didn't travel to Florida last week.
I like the cold days up north because nothing makes me feel better than keeping warm. Challenges -- even little ones -- make life interesting. Turning up the heat on a frigid day makes working for money to heat your house seem worthwhile. I even like a heavy snow a couple of times every winter.
Keeping cool in the heat is good, too, but it isn't as satisfying as staying warm when it's cold. There's something artificial about conditioned-air. Mechanically-cooled air feels fake to me.
A lot of people go to warmer places like Hawaii in the winter because of the weather. The thing about Hawaii is, most of us don't want nice weather all the time. It's boring. Like life, weather should change. You should have to decide in the morning whether to wear a coat or bring an umbrella.
The second hottest I've ever been was in the barracks at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 1942. I used to go out at night and lie under the barracks because it was too hot inside. I think most Army barracks are air-conditioned today. The hottest place I've ever been was in India in July after the war.
The whole CBS building where I work in is air-conditioned and heated, so my office is about the same temperature in the summer as it is in the winter. I called the people who run the building and they said it costs more to heat the building than it does to cool it. I don't have much confidence that they're right but that's what they say. Of course, there are probably more days when the building needs heat than when it needs to be cooled.
(Write to Andy Rooney at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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