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Sunday, January 20

warm feet...but not too warm

Every day now I crawl out of bed, pull on a thermal shirt, another thermal shirt, a blue wool sweater, a sweatshirt, two pairs of socks, and my favorite mucklucks. I then gingerly open the bedroom door...and promptly freeze my patootie clean off.

That's right. Every morning, my keister falls to the floor and rolls under the couch where Lila barks at it ("Look! A! Butt! Un! Der! The! Couch! Look! Look! LOOK!") until I retrieve it and dust it off and re-attach it with a good hot shower.

You think I exaggerate, but that's exactly how I lost my left toe the other day too.

Now this may sound like the lead-in to a massive complaint fiesta about how cold it is (for a welcome change, probably) but it's not. The truth is, I don't mind losing body parts to the extreme arctic conditions of our kitchen during the winter because, even though everyone agrees six summers has earned me the right to call myself a Tucsonan, I still much prefer extreme cold to extreme heat.

"Then why the crap am I still reading about how you live in southern Arizona?" you ask.

Yes. Well.

First of all, how would your mother like it if she knew you talked that way?

And secondly, there's the matter of the Guatemalan. Now, Guatemalans as a group seem to be highly adaptable and entrepreneurial folks. Someday I will finish my "Field Guide to Guatemalans" which hopefully will facilitate a clearer understanding of the hardy Guatemelan spirit. For the moment, know that my personal Guatemalan is perhaps even hardier than most of his kind, and that you should be pretty impressed by that. His muscley Guatamala-ness is truly inspiring.

The Guatemalan has an enviable ability to deal with extreme conditions. He loves the heat. As far as I can tell, the hotter the better. I have never seen him freak out when it hits 103 degrees again and it's humid and the power goes out not that it matters because the swamp cooler doesn't work in July anyway...! Not once. He loves to sweat. He loves to suffer. It makes him feel clean or alive or well-oxygenated or something.

He also loves to be cold. For fun, he once backpacked through the Himalayas for weeks. He remembers that it was pretty cold. "Optimal temperature" is probably a way to swear for him, for all I know. Engaging in activities that leave me unable to blink - such as leaping naked into icy mountain streams merely cause him to dance about and shout "WHOOO!" with a giant slap-happy grin. I have never seen him lose his patootie to the cold. Although I may have missed it while I looked for my own.

So why am I still in southern Arizona? Obviously I have fallen in with the wrong crowd. A crowd named Raphael who cares not for conditions of climate. Drought? Pshaw. Floods? Minor, although extremely wet, obstacles. Nine hours of low desert survey in the middle of August with nothing but a Nalgene bottle and a hole-y bandana? Bring it on!

Well, last year the Guatemalan, as you may know, decided to take all that fortitude and stamina and use it to become an architect. So being as how nothing about the Arizona climate affects him adversely and also because we're pretty settled here with the casita and the baby trees and everything, it made sense for him to apply to school here in Tucson. (My main criteria would've no doubt been does it snow there? I'll apply there if it snows there. If I was committing to five more years of school, we'd have moved to Boston last summer.) And of course he got in. UA admissions process and the prospect of decades spent paying back massive student loans? No biggie!

So to be honest, in one way, I'm still here because I have to be here. I may not like the heat, but I really like the Guatemalan. In another way, I'm still here because I want to be here. Because I really like Tucson too. If I can't enjoy the summers quite the way Raphael can, I can at least revel in the amazing winters: sunny days in the fifties and sixties waning into chilly evenings perfect for backyard bonfires followed by long, freezing nights that encourage long sleepy hours under heavy warm covers.

I'm going to be spending the next five summers of my life here, but I figure as long as I get five good months of cold weather a year and my mucklucks make it through okay, I can handle it. I am a Tucsonan, after all.

1 comment:

Jen Phelps Cutler said...

If it makes you feel any better, I don't think anyone is ever completely happy where they are. That being said, it really may make you feel better to know that we are experiencing windchills of -5 in Cleveland here, today...complete with snow. Brrr. Now excuse me while I go look for *my* patootie. ;-)