Tuesday, December 02, 2008

To Heat or Not to Heat

As noted myriad times before, I am a southern girl who thinks cold weather is defined as temperatures below 65 degrees F. I loathe the cold.

The crunch of the ground under my constricting boots.

The chilly winds that whip around with no care given to my hair or, more interestingly, my skirt.

The moments spent in agony during the dash outside to crank the car and/or remove ice from the windshield.

The fetal position assumed as a miserable, protective ball against an insufficiently warmed car or to avoid the nether regions of cold sheets.

The slick slip across ice of a certain already clumsy sistorian.

The aching, forgot-my-gloves hands.

The awkward, shivery dance done to ward off cruel temperatures while waiting outside.

I resist it as long as possible, but the time came, on Sunday night when I could resist no more.

I lay curled in bed, my feet little more than ice blocks, my nose feeling nipped by that damnable Jack Frost. I was so cold, so devoid of any modicum of real or artificial warmth that I could not sleep. It was time, part of me figured, to turn on the heater.

But the heater means warmth that dries out your nose and roughens your throat.

The heater means waking up in a restrictive jumble of bedclothes.

The heater means sweat on my neck and scalp and behind my knees.

The heater means "Good-bye, $96.11 electric bill!"

The heater is a poor substitute for autumn.

But I dragged my ice-blocks across the floor and switched it on. By the time I made it back to bed, I scented the ominous stench of heater-not-used-in-a-while. It smelled as if it were on fire. I was too peeved--and, well, too cold--to turn it off. Instead, I plotted how my son and I could land, relatively unscathed, should we have to escape fire through second floor windows.

Then, the smell subsided. And the warmth began. Glorious, defrost your feet, stretch your legs into the cold, dark regions of your sheets, lift your head from the cocoon of the comforter, warmth.

I sighed and slept.

And I remembered that nothing, not the hurried morning shower to wash away night sweat, not the half-assed flat-ironing of tangled, damp-at-the-roots hair, not the extra minute to toss Hall's honey-lemon drops into my bookbag and load sheets into the washer, lessens the satisfaction of smacking winter's creepy, icy fingers away from a newly-warmed body.

5 comments:

gradmommy said...

I live in graduate student housing right now, where heat is included in rent, and my heat is always on with no regrets. But when we lived in PA, where heat was extra and it's hella cold, my bill was sky-high cause I don't play when it comes to heat...get warm, sister!

elle said...

See, I'm that way about air-conditioning!

Brian said...

Yeah. One of the great selling points of south Florida is that the two seasons are the summer and not-summer, but right now it's in the fifties and I'm hating it.

Kimberly said...

Living in a house, I'm always worried about getting that gas bill. So I set my heater on 70 degrees. Now if it's 70 outside, that's nice. You can wear a t-shirt and feel comfortable. Apparently inside the house 70 degrees is artic cold if you ask my husband. He thinks I'm freezing the kids to death. Granted - it's probably more like 68 degrees, but dang....put on a sweatshirt! LOL!

lauredhel said...

Our winter isn't your winter, but I'm very intolerant of temperature swings (because of medical Stuff). To reduce my heater use, I tucked an electric pillow into the bottom of my bed. Somehow, having warm feet translates into the rest of me being more cold-resistant, and the electricity bill was correspondingly lower this winter!

Air conditioning, I just have to wear. It's the Western Australian summer, and it's intolerable to most human organisms. Without the aircon, I end up completely bedridden and whimpering.

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...