My parents didn’t argue about much, but there was one thing over the course of their 40+ year marriage they could never, ever agree on: the temperature. Turning the usual gender roles on their head, my dad was always cold and my mom was (and remains) hot. I cannot tell you how many times I heard some variation on this conversation:
Dad: Mary, can you check the thermostat? It’s freezing in here.
Mom: It’s set at 68 degrees. It’s perfectly warm.
Dad: Well, I’m cold
Mom: It’s not cold in here. There’s no way you can be cold.
Dad: I’m cold!
Mom: It isn’t cold. I’m not cold!
Dad: IT IS COLD! I AM COLD!
Mom: BUT IT’S NOT COLD IN HERE!
And on and on and on.
It took a long time before the obvious dawned on me – they were both right. Dad was cold, Mom was not. They were looking for an empirical truth when in reality, how any person experiences the temperature is entirely subjective.
This endless loop of argument came to mind last night when my friend Rudi posted the following on Facebook:
Is everybody in DC soft? This isn’t cold yet, people. This is far from REAL cold.
I saw Rudi’s status just after I’d gotten on the bus after waiting in a 11° wind chill for 10 minutes, and dammit, I was cold. Telling me it’s not that cold does not make me warm, it just makes me irritated. I used my one un-gloved digit (right thumb) to post a comment on his status to tell him so.
And then it dawned on me: Just like my parents, we’re both right.
Fundamentally, DC is populated by lots and lots of people like my mom (for example, Rudi) and just as many folks like my dad (say, moi), and every single year as winter sets in, the battle of who is hearty and who is not is waged. The warm-blooded folks go about with an air of superiority, while the chilly shake their heads with knowing, “Are you crazy?” looks. We mock like it’s our jobs, and argue as if someone can actually win.
Which no one can. I know this. I told my parents so hundreds of times.
And so, I’m officially out of this pointless argument. I’m cold. If you’re not, awesome. Good for you. Give me your sweater.