Friday, April 24, 2015

Obsessed with the weather

I began to suspect I might be a little bit obsessed with the weather just about a month ago, when, whenever someone would make any kind of comment or passing speculation on it, I would respond instantly with a detailed forecast for the next two days, and usually state the current temperature to the exact degree.

I never for a minute think this indicates I should have gone for a career in meteorology. However, I do think it's a useful obsession to have, for all it stems from a comparably un-useful curse.

What curse, you ask? Well, the curse of my almost complete inability to maintain a consistent body temperature. I feel this makes me a rare breed, like some kind of magical unicorn of thermoregulation.

Some people are always hot. I feel a little sorry for them in the summer, but at least they're consistent. Some people are always cold. This was me until a few years ago, and, while I don't miss those days at all, it was predictable at least, to know that I was never going to get overheated no matter what I did.

Now, my comfort zone is all across the board.

Once again, they turned off the heat in our building as soon as it hit 70 degrees outside for one day, leaving us poor souls shivering in our shoes now that the temperatures have returned to April normal. The rest of my coworkers are handling it all right, though complaining. I, on the other hand, am running a space heater all day, wearing fingerless gloves, and still feeling miserable. I don't start getting warm until midafternoon, when all of a sudden my torso is sweltering in my blazer, while meanwhile my fingers are still sticks of ice.

On the other hand, while 65 degrees in the office is like 8 straight hours of torture by ice, just let me walk outside in the same temperature for 10 minutes, and I'll be stripping off layers like I'm in a sauna. Any small amount of exercise usually heats me up to uncomfortable levels—hence my careful choice of biking clothes—but all the same, my nose is still running and my hands are still frozen.

I live for the days when it hits 80 outside (about the only days when it's warm enough for me to wear sandals), but come 86, and I start feeling lightheaded.

When we ride together in the car in winter, my boyfriend and I both love to crank the heat way up, but while he can survive the whole ride in his puffer jacket without any sign of discomfort, I am always having to remove my coat and gloves (and subsequently losing them) after only a few miles. But then comes springtime, when all of a sudden he wants to drive with the window open. Naturally he's fine with the breeze, but it is enough to turn me into a blue-lipped popsicle.

I have calculated (by a scientific process of wild guessing) that I have a temperature comfort zone of approximately 5 degrees Fahrenheit...but that zone shifts by 15 degrees or more depending on what I'm doing, what I'm wearing, and whether it's sunny or windy.  Unsurprisingly, this means that I'm rarely comfortable. But it also means that I always make an effort to prepare for whatever climate I'm going to be in—and in the spring or fall when the climate is so unpredictable, that often means checking the temperature and forecast dozens of times a day.

I might be a slave to the thermometer, but it does have its upside. At least for my friends and companions, who can be confident that, no matter where we are or when it is, if they ask me, I will have a weather forecast ready for them.