Last night my I went with R to glacial town of Idyllwild, California, where the temperature was an arctic 55ª Fahrenheit, easily thirty degrees colder than where I was down in the desert valley. I had prepared for the cold; long pants and a hoodie! Up in the town the Californians were protected from the frigid alpine conditions by heating elements; electric rods in the ceilings and standing gas flame heaters among the tables. I envied the tourists with knit caps and puffy jackets.
Anyway, on the drive back down, I was cold, so I asked R if I could turn on the heater in his car. He was driving on dark, winding, two-lane roads, so I took the liberty of cranking the heat all the way to high so he could keep his eyes on the road and his hands at ten and two. We drive for ten or fifteen minutes talking about life and the universe, and suddenly he busts in with, “CAN YOU PLEASE TURN DOWN THE HEAT, YOU F*ING FRIOLENTO,” I looked over and he was in Stage 11 heat stroke, ready to pass out, his skin as red as a apple and a faint smell of pork roast. I was puzzled because I was just finally starting to feel warm again; and also rather pleased, since I was the one who taught him that word “friolento;” someone who is wimpy about the cold, and there he was using it properly in context.
So yes, I did turn down the heat, so my friend wouldn’t suffer. Not all the way down, because brr, but then he asked me a second time, so I went max AC and handed him a cold compress. Drama.
I moved to the Desert in 2016, and the heat was just oppressive; I didn’t know how I was going to survive it. It was so hot, it made everything ugly.
I was very surprised, however at how quickly I adjusted and became a friolento. I think it was a matter of a couple of months. My classroom usually felt comfortably warm, but when we’d have to go upstairs for a faculty meeting, my teeth were chattering. When we had Mass upstairs, I would warn people sternly to bring a sweater. When the outside temps get up in to the 90s (we consider that a cooler temperature here) I start keeping a hoodie in the car, to have with me just in case I have to go into a store or an office. People here keep their air conditioning set to “ice cream.” It’s so cold, lobsters and crabs start get visibly lethargic when they enter the dentist’s office.
So yah, I’m a friolento now. I wonder how long it will take me to adjust, when I move back to Seattle, Washington in the fall of this year, to start the new job I just committed to yesterday. I wonder if I’ll feel cold when it rains. I wonder if I will crave the sunshine.
Nah! I’m glad I kept all my flannel shirts. I wonder if they’ll let me teach in them…
In case you’re wondering, the drive to Idyllwild and back was very scenic. I was glad to go and see it all for first time, and glad to celebrate the new job.