Tuesday, January 15, 2013


There was a time when my friend and I would climb over the chain link fence at the school yard with NYC temperatures hovering around 25 degrees, carrying a snow shovel to clear off half of the basketball court.

How else to go one on one, perfecting my fall-away jump shot? On good days I was a white Kobe Bryant. The rest of the time we were just certifiably insane. Wind-chill hadn’t been invented yet. Our only complaint may have been the wind itself as it altered the flight of the ball.

Something happened to me during these past 56 years in Los Angeles, recalibrating my thermostat. I became soft, coddled, and a card-carrying kvetch. I may have what the old Geritol commercial described as iron-poor blood or thin blood or no blood at all. My comfort range has constricted. I’m fine in the upper reaches but anything below 58 has me running for cover. And that’s inside.

How is it possible to be colder in the house than outside? It must be a function of my sedentary life style. I suppose writing blogs doesn’t count as strenuous activity no matter how I run off at the mouth, make leaps and fall on my face.

Cold-adverse as I am I also disdain turning on the heat. It seems to dry up my skin and mucous membrane, the consequences of which are itchy arms and legs. I find myself getting up during the night to apply a moisturizing lotion. This is further complicated by one of the most dreaded and least talked-about conditions known to mankind; namely creeping sleeve syndrome and even worse, creeping-leg syndrome in which my pajamas crawl up my extremities on their own accord. Some day this malady will receive its proper due and perhaps a Telethon will raise money for further research.

Our apartment feels like a supermarket’s meat department. Even my hair is cold. The choice is to die of hypothermia or itchy dermatitis. In the meantime I might as well take Inuit as a second language where I can become fluent in their 28 words for snow.

So here I sit in what would probably be regarded as a heat wave in Minnesota, with my wooly Irish sweater I bought 27 years ago in Connemara never worn until now. I’m having a cup of tea which I periodically raise against my cheek to warm my face. The highpoint of my morning will be the scalding hot shower awaiting me where I shall lapse into tropical day dreams in equatorial climes where Peggy and I are sipping some libation with an mini-umbrella afloat under a sweltering sun.

It's a great time for smooching!

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