Friday, January 08, 2010
Growing up in Mississippi, I had just enough experience with cold weather to know that it placed me in a quandary with regard to thermal underwear: Thermals could keep me warm outdoors, but, thanks to my rat-like metabolism, I would always bake to death indoors whenever I wore them. Fortunately, cold weather was not a constant feature of my life for weeks on end in those days, so this was never really a problem.
It is now, though! And, yes, just as primitive cultures discovered the color wheel by degrees, I have gradually learned to distinguish varying intensities of coldness. There is a noticeable difference between twenty degrees and thirty -- a matter about which ignorance was bliss. I had been quite happy to refer to that entire range simply as "cold" before. Not any more... I was only half-joking when I referred to, "the mercury hit[ting] a blistering thirty-six degrees," the other day: It actually felt kind of warm when it did. I am afraid I will have to revisit my winter terminology before too long.
Fortunately, I can thank my wife for introducing me to silk thermals, courtesy of a tip from some friends who moved here a few years before we did. My morning subway commute ends with a brisk eight-to-ten-minute walk in the cold, but I work in a warm lab all day. These silk long johns have made what would have been miserable (freezing my legs off) or annoying (changing out of the long johns at work) barely noticeable. They add no bulk and I notice them only when I realize it's cold and feel grateful to have them.
Sometimes a really simple thing like this can make a big difference.
Today: Minor edits.