My Lovely Wife and I are diametrically opposed when it comes to our internal thermostats. It isn't uncommon for her to dress in layers and carry a jacket on days when I'm ready to pack my shorts with ice cubes.
Historically, winter is for me, summer for her.
In college at Plattsburgh, NY, when the temperature broke into double digits, you traded out the really, really heavy jacket for just the really heavy jacket. Shorts and t-shirts came out as soon as the mercury topped 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
You learn things about your body in that kind of unreasonable coldness. For instance, your legs can handle 18-degree gusts of wind for the two-block walk from the dorm to the raquetball courts, but your arms can't. So, go ahead and wear the gym shorts just so long as your top half is wrapped in two t-shirts, a sweatshirt, a hemp hoodie, and a parka. If you're walking into the wind, hold your raquet like a groin shield to keep the giblets from freezing.
Yes, the Great White North was something I could figure out. Then I moved to North Carolina, which really wasn't a very smart thing for a pigmentally challenged person like me to do. Moving closer to the equator should require a permit process in which you answer a series of questions.
Do you burn easily? Yes.
Have you ever blistered? I get blisters on my blisters.
Do you ever tan? Does a faint gray hue count as a tan?
Have you ever burned on an overcast day in December? What year?
How many third-degree sunburns have you had? Third degree is for sissies.
You get the idea...
If you fail, you're assigned a southern-most latitude based on your paleness that you are not allowed to cross without signing some sort of waiver. Fail really big and you get free igloo construction training and a pamphlet about the many different uses of walrus blubber. Unfortunately, this process has yet to be implemented.
And while I've gotten smarter about slathering myself with sunscreen and wearing hats on sunny days, there have been plenty of times when I've ended up looking like a lobster and smelling like 190 pounds of Yankee bacon. The worst is when we've had other people's kids with us at the pool and severely underestimated their tolerance to the Carolina sunshine.
"Sorry we turned your kid into a bacon bit! She really enjoyed the water, until it started vaporizing when it came into contact with her skin..."
© 2011 Mark Feggeler