It was a running joke, in my family, that we had to move to Florida because otherwise I would freeze solid and probably shatter into a million pieces if you happened to bump into me on the way down the hallway to the bathroom. I have always been icy cold in any temperature below 70, and I am surprised I still have fingers and toes. However, I’ve also been unbearably, uncomfortably and wretchedly hot, to the point where it is difficult to function in temperatures above 80. So I have a tiny little window, see, in which to be a delicate flower, otherwise I explode.
I’ve learned to compensate for my temperature control issues via the miracle of clothing (a lot of it) in the winter in parts east and through most of the year in San Francisco, but I was never able to figure out how to function in the heat properly. Partly because I was never comfortable exposing too much skin when I was heavy, and partly because sweat collected in uncomfortable places and made me sticky and chafey and unhappy, but mostly because I just felt like I couldn’t breathe or think or BE ALIVE. I hate the heat so much, is what it boils all the way down to, I think.
There’s a lot less comforting insulation on my body, now, so the cold
weather cuts right to the bone, I have found, with no stops along the
way. There is wind, and it is sharp, and it wants to kill me by slicing
my internal organs right into tiny bits. I wore a lot of sweaters,
this winter, and shirts under the sweaters and T-shirts under the
shirts and the sweaters, and I still spent most of my time shivering,
under piles of blankets, and immersing myself neck-deep in very hot
tubs of water to heat up my core before I shook to pieces.
I comforted myself with the fact that losing body fat would have some
advantages to a person who does poorly in the heat. I wouldn’t get as
overheated so quickly and I wouldn’t have as many things to get sweaty
and chafey. My thighs don’t rub together, and that is a major relief
for me, so I can wear skirts without undershorts. I have embraced my
flappy, flabby good-bye arms and my fat knees, so I don’t care as much
about showing skin. I can be practically, terrifyingly naked, and this
would be the best summer ever! I won’t even feel it!
It turns out you feel the heat anyway. Being scrawny doesn’t make much
of a difference, in fact, in the degree to which I hate it so much, and
hate sweating, and hate feeling like I am wrapped in wet blankets and
being smothered right to death. I don’t approve of that at all. I also
don’t approve of the way my windows are so ridiculous–weird crank
windows that only open in one section–that they don’t fit an air
conditioner or a box fan. I especially don’t approve of the way that
never occurred to me, before I took the apartment.
This summer, I suspect, is going to be a lot of sprawling half-naked on
my fainting couch, fanning myself weakly with a magazine, working up
the energy to crawl into the bathroom and collapse on the relatively
cool tile, before I drag myself into the bathtub to lie face-down in a
pool of ice water which will be the only thing that will keep all my
blood from boiling entirely away.