Sunday, November 6, 2016

Winter Cold

I first published this essay in January 2010 about a month after I got Cheyenne from the Key West pound. It was one of the coldest spells I've seen in Key West and we never seem to have repeated it. I hate the cold but I fear climate change more and would like to see a nice cold snap this winter just to compensate for all the warm winters we've had since. This is what the big chill in Key West looks like:

Cold People

The National Weather service predicts Sunday's night time low for Key West should be 46 degrees (8C). In light of the fact the lowest temperature ever recorded is 41 degrees (5C), this is will be a weekend to be remembered.I was talking about this main subject of conversation and we thought back to the winter of 2002 which i remember as a week of temperatures around 50 degrees (10C), when i rode the bus around town as the scooter froze my bones. The only people we took out sailing was a family from Alaska who thought the weather was summery. Perhaps it is even now, seeing as how flowers still bloom on the streets of Key West:
A powerful fish sandwich and heavy weather clothing will keep patrons comfortable in outdoor seating at Buddy Owen's Fish wagon on Caroline Street:It's the tourists who have so little time in town and find themselves caught in the middle of a prolonged cold spell. This one doesn't appear likely to ease up before Wednesday at the earliest and that's enough time to swallow a whole vacation. So much for shorts and t-shirts in January:Not everyone seems to feel the frigid cold of low temperatures and biting northeast winds. And the sight of a bare knee these days is worth appreciating around Key West:I'm not kidding when I tell you this weather is hard on some people. If you think I'm joking and this secretly feels warm you have no idea how one adapts to warm climates year round. Blood really does thin in response to perpetual heat:
The owner of the coffee shop was congratulating himself on buying the gas heater/blower. He uses it at home where he has no heat at all, but he brought to his Cuban Queen Coffee Shop to help the customers who perforce stand outdoors. I laughed and told him I had figured out my reverse cycle heating system in short order.The sky hasn't been completely blue either which lends a slightly menacing air to the day. Another cold front is expected this weekend bringing a chance of rain and absolutely no let up in the cold.
It may seem odd to see people riding scooters and bicycles in bare hands but not everyone has gloves. And not everyone that has gloves can find them.Sometimes, when you lack proper cold weather gear the best thing to do is smoke a cigarette and just look cool, rather than cold.
The idea that the Key West sun may be harmful is hard to let go, even when your ears are burning from the cold:
I have to be honest; the idea of taking a tour is to me anathema just at the moment. I have forced myself to commute by Bonneville the past couple of nights when my wife was home to take care of the dog, but it is a cold joy to be riding once again. The engine takes forever to warm up properly and I wonder what people who routinely ride in colder temperatures do. I remember in my callow youth being cold a lot of the time, but the fun of the chill is not as acute at age 52.Ooh, look! A scarf! I think that's what that is...
Bloody tourists showing off their lily white knees and enjoying the cold.
And what, I ask you, is the point of a padded jacket that has no sleeves?This guy at least has an excuse- he's working:
For women a cold snap is an opportunity to show off some real winter wear, like fuzzy boots and jackets and stuff:And hoodies ( the Harley in the background is purely a coincidence).Churches have been opening their doors to people who need help, and that's not just for homeless people but for people without heat- including homeowners and people who live on boats. I have lots of unhappy memories of cold nights on a boat, and the blessing of 110 volt electricity is not to be overestimated when the nights are cold. Fireplaces are as rare as hen's teeth in Key West. You are more likely to find flames ...on a jeep?
It's too cold for me to think about lighting up my outdoor fire pit, I'd burn one side of me and freeze the other sitting around a fire. However some demented wastrel was running an outdoor fan on their porch:
When the sun did put in a timid appearance it was a pleasant scene to ride a bike through, even though when I got back to the car the temperature gauge read 57 degrees (14C) at 2:30 pm.
The equator is about where I'd like to be right now, sweating like an honest tropical dweller:
I found bitter irony in this Portuguese (or Brazilian) named home. "House of the Sun" indeed!This dude had it figured out, a hat under a helmet, heavy gloves, sweat suit, socks and a big shaggy sheepskin on the saddle to keep his bum warm:
This lady on Summerland Key had it all color coordinated too. She must be prepared for cold snaps:There are a few hard core riders still out on the Overseas Highway (Notice everyone wearing a snug warm helmet? Those lids have a purpose after all!): 

So what is the well dressed Labrador wearing this cold winter season? A snug fur coat of course, all enveloping, with a color coordinated green nylon collar and a nice purple and yellow pair of id and rabies tags to set off the ensemble.
And a great big shit eating grin as these temperatures are what Labradors live for.