Sunday, February 12, 2006

Weather-as-Home Report

Southbound, you can taste the weather
it feels like home.

--Son Volt

I always thought he was saying "I've found when you can taste the weather, it feels like home," and I've listened to that song a lot. I'm talking in the hundreds, if not thousands, of times. I liked it more as a universal thought, but oh well, the basic sentiment's the same. I would just reverse the direction.

As interesting as cultural distinctions can be, I'm frequently reminded that weather trumps almost everything else for me. This weekend's record snowstorm came just in time. With temperatures in the 50s recently, before Cupid has even made the scene, I was beginning to fear we had lost winter much too young.

I spoke to a good friend in Houston today, and told him I was essentially snowed in. He responded that it was just cool enough there to require long sleeves, and that he was idling in his car outside a record store with the air conditioner on. A quick check of the weather report for his city shows expected temps in the 70s later this week. Sure, if our entire winter had been like this weekend, when everything -- the sky above, the air in front of your face, the ground beneath your feet -- was white, temps in the 70s would sound inviting. Thing is, when it's 70 in mid-February, it's -- you guessed it -- in the low 200's in July and August.

The autumn air in Texas was frequently beautiful. (In Dallas, anyway. Most places further south than that, they call autumn Summer 2: The Revenge. In fact, I learned to love that Son Volt lyric because whenever I drove the 300 miles due north from my San Antonio college to Dallas in October or November, at some point there was a distinct, incredibly comforting change in the taste of the air coming in the car window. It kind of made Dallas feel like a second home for the first time.) But in early September, no matter where in the state, when the accumulated drag of unabated hundred-degree days had me pining desperately for a breeze that had recently visited water, that's when I knew for certain that I'd take a tough winter over a tough summer eight days a week.

Tough weekend, this one, and I loved it.

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Blogger Dezmond said...

I am said "friend" he spoke with yesterday. It is all a matter of what you are used to. I feel the opposite from JW here. I will take the heat of a Texas summer over the cold of a northern winter most days. It is fun as a change to experience (I was in Cleveland for several days in January, that was kinda neat to feel that kind of biting cold...I guess). But man, nothing's better than jumping into a pool in July in Texas (or the gulf coast). That Texas warmth on the outside, the cool (or actually lukewarm) refreshing water.

I guess you get fiercely "proud" of the weather of home, wherever that may be. Much like JW revels in the blizzards and cold, I revel in the heat and humidity of Texas. I laugh at people who whine about "heat" being temps in the 80's. Pussies. Much as I am sure they laugh at me as I bundle in layers of clothing if the temp gets into the 30's.

11:07 AM  
Blogger JMW said...

Agreed overall, of course; you like what you're used to, up to a point, and I was born into northern cold. That said, just for the record, the humidity in NY makes the summer up here WORSE in some ways -- it just doesn't last nearly as long. So, jumping in a pool (or the ocean, more pleasingly) is quite refreshing to a Yankee as well.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous PF said...

Gentlemen, I'd like to respectfully disagree with the propostion that you like what you're used to. I spent my first 30 summers in Arizona, learning to love unrelenting stretches of 100-degree days. If you count "summer" by Eastern standards -- that is, say, as the time when the mercury hits 80 -- summer there runs from March through November. Now, I'm not saying I don't love a great scorching, but ever since I moved to NYC six years ago, I can't get enough of winter. I've always been a little depressed by a balmy warmth at Christmastime (even though I never had any grounds for cpmparison), and I'm always as gleeful as a puppy when it snows. I bristle when weather anchors express delight at 50-degree temps in January. I can't explain it.

And, JW, I'll concur with your point about NY summers, but with one emendation. The severity of AZ summers makes NY summers seem like a cakewalk -- and I'm grateful for it -- but nothing could prepare me for a subway platform in July. Save for a urine-soaked spider-hole in Afghanistan, maybe, I can't think of anything worse.

But what are we talking about summer for? Look at all this gorgeous snow!!!

1:10 PM  

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