Friday, May 18, 2007

You Know The Preacher Likes The Cold

Our Town downtown
February 12, 2007

Yeah, it was cold last week. I say I like the cold but even I will admit my face hurt in an almost scary way one morning walking to work. One night I went to a play on Theater Row and I had to cut through the Port Authority terminal to get out of the wind for a couple minutes even though I had on a knit cap and all that. I slept with that hat on a couple of those nights.

But I actually loved it. I like gloves and that hat and a muffler and the way getting warm feels. Bitter cold makes me appreciate four walls and the way they keep the wind and the wolves away.

Some people can’t stand it. They start complaining every year in October that the cold is coming. They find nothing fun about it. It makes them mad. They dream of getting out of it. I had a cab driver here once when I was visiting before I moved here and I was going from a restaurant on Spring Street back uptown where I was staying with an old college roommate. The cab driver was a bright young guy and we got to talking as is my wont, and it came out that we were both divorced fathers with daughters. Three for me, one for him. He was younger and newer at it and he lamented how much he was missing his young daughter up in Toronto. I empathized and tried to comfort him. I figured he was in graduate school or had been transferred here and was just driving a cab to supplement his salary to pay his child support. When I asked him what he did when he wasn’t driving, he said he did nothing else. He drove full-time. I thought about the picture of his daughter on the visor above him and how sad he was about not seeing her often and I so I asked, well, couldn’t you drive a cab in Toronto and be nearer to your daughter? He shook his head and said, Man, it’s too cold up there. I didn’t know what to say.

Some people are warm-blooded and like the cold. I remember some guys in grade school when we’d have snowball fights would throw their coats and sweaters off and be in their T shirts winging hard ones at us. No hat, no gloves. They just weren’t bothered by the cold. The same guys were too hot in just a T shirt on the dog days of summer. Their warm blood boiled and made them miserable.

A friend of mine has been visiting from Florida. He moved there because he’s one of those people—cold-blooded I guess—who’s miserable in winter. He may not ever have gone to the beach down there though he lives only 10 minutes from it. He’s not there for that. He’s simply there not to be cold.

We’re all wired in our particular way. How’s this for an example? The Florida guy I just mentioned said one day last week that he was watching tube while I was at work and he had to turn it off because there was a high-pitched squealing noise coming from it. I said I’d never heard anything. A couple nights last week he was watching something and he called me in to show me the noise. I looked at him and grinned thinking he was fooling me or was going nuts. I heard nothing; not a thing other than the show that was on. He couldn’t believe it. He had to turn it off, it was bugging him so. Later he turned it back on and called me in again. Same thing. He’s no clown. Very rational guy (No doubt there was some noise emanating from the tube). He’s also a music-obsessed person. He’s a graphic designer and listens to tunes incessantly while he works and whenever the TV isn’t on. I’m not a music-obsessed person. I wonder if that sounds he hears and I don’t has something to do with it. His ears are different. I think he’s just wired to need music.

At night last week when his TV shows were off and his CDs had stopped spinning he needed the heat up so high I could hardly sleep.

-- Bill Gunlocke

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