Moving from a sunny, hot climate (I think the high in my old town is in the 80s today) to a colder, rainier one has been what I have to call a learning experience. Primary among my discoveries is: Winter Is Not A Myth. I mean, I was aware that people talked about winter, but apparently I subconsciously denied its existence my whole life. I’m sure all of you who have dealt with snow and ice and all that for your entire lives will laugh at me, but nonetheless, I’ve learned a hell of a lot these past few months. As spring started a few days ago, I thought I’d share a few to educate my fellow, weather-challenged, life-long Floridians out and provide comic relief to everyone else who is not yet tired of my weird obsession with a new season.
It is possible for the thermometer to not break 60 degrees for months on end
Despite being aware of weather systems and the fact that Florida’s eternal heat was almost enough to prove to me that god exists and he hates us all,* I did a definite double-take the first time I looked at a two-week forecast and did not see a single number beginning with 6. Even now, months later, I keep waking up in the morning expecting it to be about 80 with temperatures rising. It’s surreal.
It’s possible to see a forecast of 55 degrees and think “oh holy shit, it’s going to be warm tomorrow!”
For those of us who have lived our entire lives in an oven, 55 degrees and sunny is red-alert, put-on-your-coat-and-mittens weather. If it’s raining, you might as well not leave your house and hope your hurricane food stash holds up. The idea that 55 degrees may be warm? Poppycock. And yet I catch myself going outside just to experience the warmth of a 55-degree day. I’ll give you a minute to stop laughing before I continue.
Thermostats are capable of keeping indoors areas at a comfortable temperature
In most places I’ve lived in the South, you’re either hot because you’re outside or fucking freezing because it’s ten below indoors with the air conditioning blasting. This is primarily because every time you open a door you let in a rolling furnace blast of heat, so every business and home in the area keeps their thermostat set to tundra.** On the flip side, when we actually get our two weeks of cold weather (and yes, at least in North Florida it will reliably drop to or below freezing every night for at least a week or two during January or February, contrary to popular belief) our heaters are the shitty ones that are designed for forty-plus weather and we all wind up shivering. You learn never to be comfortable, even indoors. Now that I live somewhere that actually has Real Weather and a mild climate, I’ve found the thermostats to be set appropriately and I’m typically quite comfortable indoors. Not unconsciously bracing yourself for continual mild discomfort is a quality of life improvement that you never really think about until it happens.
There’s a reason people have “summer clothes” and “winter clothes”
There’s no point to having two sets of clothing in a place with one season. There’s just clothes you wear, and clothes you put on top of those clothes when it gets to be 75 degrees and you’re cold. You never really need to worry about wet weather because 1) it’s warm anyway and 2) since most subtropical thunderstorms are fifteen minutes long, ridiculously heavy, and are made up of rain that defies gravity by coming down sideways, you’ll get soaked no matter what happens, so you might as well adopt a fatalistic attitude when it comes to being soaked to the skin and just go with flip flops and no jacket or umbrella. Now, however, I’m experiencing the horror of thin, summer-weight fabrics in winter. I should have budgeted for at least a few pieces of cold-weather clothing, but I’m dumb. People relocating to a cooler climate from a sub-tropical one: learn from my mistake.
I need to buy some damned waterproof boots
My boots are usually okay even in a drizzle, but if there’s too much standing water and I’m going to be out for a long time I really need something waterproof. Cold feet are the worst First World Problem.
* At least, if he exists he hates Floridians. And, well, it’s not like I don’t understand that sentiment.
** This is why Floridians almost always have light sweaters with them, not in case of freak ice-storms midsummer. Icy AC plus a thin sheen of sweat from humidity and extreme heat can feel like early-stage hypothermia.