When my pipes froze this morning for the second time in a week, I knew it was cold (at least for Alabama). I refer to the pipes in my house. Although I fear that my own personal pipes may freeze as well because, even though it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, I am always freezing. This is not a normal state for me and I'm puzzled by it.
I live, after all, at the 34th latitude. I should be fully capable of handling the temperatures here because of my years spent at the 53rd latitude. I am an Albertan-born farm girl so I am a bit baffled by my thin blood down here in Alabama.
Until this winter, I have spent the bulk of my life throwing off heat waves. You might read that to mean "one hot babe" and I'd be flattered, but I'm being a little more literal than that. I was always plenty warm and could never relate to those who complained of the cold.
I have a few theories about the sudden plunge I'm feeling. First of all, this is the first winter in several that I have neither been pregnant nor nursing. I think I am missing the shared body heat. Who knew that when children stop climbing all over you that you cool off?
Or, I think my chill could arise from some weight loss. I have lost a few pounds recently and I guess the loss of that insulating blubber has dropped my body temp a notch. If this is indeed the case, I guess I'll live with the cold because I prefer being thinner to being warmer. A sad, but true reflection of my narcissism.
Thirdly, and I reject this theory all together, I am told that as one ages, one feels the cold. Pshaw.
Finally, and this is the saddest suggestion of all .... I am cold because I am now a full-fledged Southerner. Alas, I am no longer a true Canadian. How can I possibly call myself a Canuck now that I shiver in -5C? Pitiful.
I can hear all my Canadian readers guffawing. I know that you folk revel in your ability to take the cold. I know you scoff at those who are staggered by temperatures in the -30C range. I know because I used to be in your ranks.
Now I need to find my own kind here in the South who ridicule the weak who cannot tolerate anything above 30C. I am now a seasoned heat freak. I'm not saying I like it, but I can tolerate it. (Central air conditioning aside, I am tough).
Eight years in the American South may have thinned my blood in winter, but it has also cooled my system during a heat wave. I can move about my summer days glistening daintily in the heat and humidity. (Seriously, these Southern women never sweat off their make-up). When I explain the heat down here to Albertans, I clarify that down here in August, the air is hot. You can be in the sun, you can be in the shade - it doesn't matter, you are hot. The air does not cool down when the sun sets.
In Alberta, the sun is hot. It may sizzle your skin but at least shade offers some relief and the air cools when the sun's rays disappear. A breeze can cool things down. An Alabama breeze creates a convection oven. These Southerners surely can take some heat.
I just don't think I can give up membership in the "I can take the cold" club. Yet, I can't deny that my system has adjusted for my location. Rather than make it a citizenship issue, I think I'll just be grateful that my body knows how to acclimate. Clearly, if I were still able to take the cold like a Canadian, the Alabama summer heat could kill me.