It's cold today. Like the coldest I have felt in years. Cold by even the standards of those that tolerate cold weather. I actually felt alright about it and even took a walk this morning to the bank and survived. Being okay with it getting in to the 20's and 30's is, I suppose, some coping mechanism that I have unconsciously come up with in order to deal with having my first winter in seven years. (insert long sigh)
I have spent the past ten years of my life living and traveling around the world. The number one reason I have done this is to get away from all wintry and cold weather. Sure I love traveling, but winter is what has forced me to do it. For the past seven years I have avoided winter completely. After the last winter I spent in Denver(2006-2007)I swore up and down I would never spend another winter in Denver ever again. That winter set a record for the longest consecutive number of days with snow on the ground. It was blizzard after blizzard after blizzard and the snow was piled up around town. I lived too far from work to walk, and riding my bike was out of the question making me subject to waiting at the bus stop every single day in those awful conditions. Every miserable, freezin' ass day I spent waiting at the bus stop, all I could dream about was the following winter when I would not be there, no matter the consequences. I have kept that promise to myself, until now.
I have decided to stay in Denver for at least this winter. I decided that during some 90°+ June day, but it was decided and here I am. I had returned to Denver from Buenos Aires in June and was planning to stay for only the summer and then carry on traveling, or perhaps move back to California. Life has its ways and I found myself head over heels in love with Denver all over again that I decided winter had greater appeal than leaving/traveling/moving did at the time. After so much leaving/traveling/moving the past decade of my life, I found myself longing to just stay put and not be consumed with where I was going to go next. I am happy with my decision to stay even as the weather has cooled, but it's only October for frick sake, and time will tell.
I half joke with my friends about increasing my winter survivability factor by engaging in various cold weather training(the other half of me is entirely serious about this training). An example would be riding my bike on a brisk 60° day with no jacket, only a t-shirt. Sound weak? Well it is, because I am. I have also removed my jacket in temps that are hovering around the low 50's, and keep in mind the jacket I am removing is a puffy down coat likely coupled with a scarf. Yes, I wear my puffy down coat and scarf when it's in the 50's. I know, I know it seems totally ridiculous, but keep in mind my traveler lifestyle has spoiled me with temperatures that average in the 70's and often times warmer than that. Anything below 60°F feels like the arctic tundra. In my defense, I rode my bike a couple mornings these past few weeks when it was in the 30's and I'm still alive. Take that winter! Something tells me I shouldn't taunt winter. . .
I will admit, and this may come as a surprise, that living in Los Angeles actually helped me adjust to cooler temps. The west side of LA, near the coast, is not the warmest. The temperatures there were often in the 60's and only a few weeks of the year did it get above 80°. Being a more humid air than Colorado, the air often felt cooler than it was, therefore helping my body adjust to what I am facing here in the autumn of Denver. I have also increased my winter survivability factor by moving two blocks away from work, making me able to walk to work even on the coldest and snowiest of days(I will never wait at the bus!). I am also walking distance from Whole Foods where I shop and three blocks from Turin for when I need a dose of testosterone from my friends there. The heat in my apartment works really well and I am using my oven as much as possible. I sleep under an enormous down comforter and I am embarrassed to say that sometimes I sleep with my robe over my two layers of pajamas. I like being not just warm, but hot.
I have a sneaking suspicion that this winter will be very snowy. It rained a lot this summer in Denver and the mountains and if that precipitation continues into winter, it's gonna be deep. (insert second long sigh) One dumb ass question that I sort of can't believe people ask when I tell them I hate winter is, "Well, don't you ski?". Listen you ape, nobody skis in the city. Skiing is in the mountains and being a skier would not make winter in the city any more tolerable. It's still messy, freaking cold and basically sucks the life force out of me when it goes on too long. So the question remains of whether or not I can weather the cold weather that is creeping in slowly more and more every day. If I suddenly drop off from writing on barbers without borders, rest assured I conceded to the cold that I am dead and plenty warm in hell.