I’m sorry our cold isn’t really cold, but the fact is, I’m still cold, and I’m not sorry about that.
This is the lament of a Floridian every winter. How we poor, wretched, warmth-deprived beings have to fear how our commentary on the temperature will be taken the wrong way if mentioned in the wrong company.
Know what I’m talking about? Happened to mention to a visitor from up north how you feel about our weather — even casually. “How am I doing? Well, it’s cold enough outside to freeze the freckles right off my body!” I will say.
You know pretty quickly you’ve made a mistake by the indignation on the person’s face. It is as if Mount Vesuvius is about to uncork. That you are about to be beaten to a pulp for something you have said that is so insulting, so degrading and so blatantly ignorant that it could freeze the freckles right off your body.
“Cold?!?” comes the reply, and it’s icy. “You call this ‘cold?!?’ It’s 134 degrees BELOW zero back at my home in Boston. It’s so cold, the ice got frostbite.”
And then, shivering Floridian that you are, you have to apologize and blush and feel awkward and say things like, “Well, shucks, that is cold! I just meant for us, we bronze-skinned Southern natives who don’t own any clothes that don’t incorporate flip-flops and shorts. We just find it a little … you know … chilly.”
By that point we have already gone too far. We fear we have re-ignited a new North-South civil war, and that it will all be blamed on you. “Children, the war of 2015 was started when an ignorant St. Augustine man wearing gloves and a parka in 66-degree weather declared it was ‘cold!’”
Listen, it’s not my fault. I’m from Tampa. Fifty-degree weather there sent people to the hospital with frostbite. If the temperature dropped into the 40s, a city-wide emergency was declared and we all were transported in heated moving trucks to Miami for thawing … in giant Cuban sandwich presses.
So, do I have to feel guilty all the time when I say it’s “cold?” I know it’s not REALLY cold. Not northern cold. Not where people are really suffering, and digging out from snow drifts as high as their houses, and where staying warm isn’t about comfort, but staying alive. I get that, but it’s cold enough for us. For goodness sake, the tip of my nose looks like Rudolph!
We mean no offense when we say it. In our flip-flops, we just don’t know any better.