Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Bring It On
We finally had some freezing temperatures this week. It feels like winter. Our house is 63 even though the thermostat is cranked to 75. I can't say I am enjoying it, although I like the fact that the
weather is appropriately seasonal. Winter should feel like winter. Wearing sandals on Christmas Eve was weird. But it is also weird to wear a sweater, a hat, and two pairs of socks to bed, when we have central heat and a very warm down comforter, flannel sheets, and so on.
As we stood in line outside Regina's Pizzeria in the North End the other night, we watched as the host called for larger parties of four and six, which were waiting well behind us. We were so cold that we told the couples shivering in front and back of us that, if a table opened up for four or six, we should grab it. And they agreed. So when the host called for a foursome, we went in with the young couple in front of us and sat together. It was kind of strange, but it was also vastly preferable to freezing outside for even two more minutes. We asked for separate checks, politely shared a water pitcher, and passed the parmesan. (I spent most of the meal clinging to the hot steam radiator beside our table. I was close to hyperthermia despite my winter clothing.)
Our recent real-estate fiasco had one surprising benefit besides some new self-knowledge and humility. I lost 10 to 12 pounds from stress. On me, that's a lot — enough flab, apparently, that I feel the cold more sharply than I have in decades. Once I lose several pounds, it's suddenly very easy for me to keep losing more and more even when I eat whatever I please. I had forgotten this because it hadn't happened in about 20 years. I don't think being skinny is great; I know my ideal, healthy weight and it's where I like to be. In my family, we believe in always having a little fat on our bones for emergencies: the next Great Depression, a serious illness, a chocolate shortage. I also got tired of my jeans sagging and decided to try to gain weight, to prove I could. My timing — the holidays — was perfect. It took a staggering number of Christmas cookies and considerable amounts of chocolate, pasta, pastry, and cheese, but I found I could gain weight slowly but steadily if I kept really focused on chewing and swallowing all the things my liver doctor doesn't want me to have. I succeeded to the point where I want lose a pound or two again.
I do not plan to gain back all the weight, even if it makes me feel more comfortable in winter. Global warming, after all, is coming. Instead I'm going to buy my first high-tech long underwear from Uniqlo. That should instantly solve both problems — feeling too cold and frequently needing to yank up my jeans. I'm going tomorrow (before today, it was impossibly cold for hiking to Faneuil Hall).
Arctic temperatures aside, it's clear that Boston in winter is a dreary, unattractive bore without snow. We need small amounts of the pretty white stuff delivered regularly — just enough to hide all the black, disgusting snow that piles up on the streets.
We need this. As you can see, these people in the Public Garden are reduced to walking on the frozen Lagoon because there are no icy sidewalks to challenge and amuse.
Winter is dark and dull now that Christmas is over. It's time for a storm... as soon as I get back from Faneuil Hall.