Yesterday, in response to my continuous whining and chattering about the cold, Pete suggested that every fall I make the following announcement:
"Pete, I would like you to know that I am going to be cold for the next five months. If at any point you are wondering whether or not I am comfortable, you may assume that I am not."
I am cold from roughly October 16 to March 29, and sometimes well into April. I wake up cold, I get out of the shower cold, I drive to work cold, I make dinner cold, I go to bed cold. My feet are cold, my arms are cold, my fingernails are cold. Even now at work, with no one else here to turn the heat down from the 79 degrees that I have cranked, I am cold.
The reason I can be cold in a 79 degree room is because winter emanates from my insides; it settled there when it settled in West Michigan. Winter is stored in my belly and slowly released in a steady stream of discomfort. While I may be able to layer against the Michigan winter, there is nothing I can do about the winter inside. Sometimes tea helps, but only in the temporary way that a cough drop soothes a sore throat.
And so I find myself, every year, in this race to cure winter. I make lists of the things that I like about winter (which is actually what I am supposed to be doing right now), I try to meditate in a frigid car the way a monk meditates after setting himself on fire, and I lean heavily on my fantasy life, which these days always includes a palm tree.
As for the ultimate cure (moving south), I am starting to suspect that God has me and the rest of the north under a curious delusion in order to keep us here. Case a point: Why haven't all the homeless people in Chicago walked to Miami by now? You see, there's a disease called winter and a delusion that keeps us bound to it. So we just hang around here and talk about the problem of winter for five months, until summer comes and everyone instantly starts complaining about the humidity, like idiot goldfish.
However, I feel I am on the cusp of a breakthrough, that I just may rid myself of this delusion in time to save myself. Though I may love you, I probably will not be able to help you. I imagine all southerners make a pact with God in order to maintain the weight and balance of the globe, so that they can continue living winterless lives while the north slips on its front porch in early December and falls into a black hole called Cold. And I plan to keep that pact if it is a necessary precondition.
Pete, just in case you've forgotten: I'm cold.