Life choices

I could not live in a warm climate — the constant low level discomfort would be intolerable. But today, after spending a half hour outside, I realized that at least I wouldn’t experience the intense, outright pain that one feels at -20°C. I guess it’s a choice between short periods of sharp physical pain vs. long periods of unpleasantness, and I choose pain over discomfort.

But I at least can sympathize a bit with people who choose otherwise. I can’t feel my hands right now, and my toes are whimpering at me.


  1. says

    I was moaning about the -20 temps yesterday. And on top of it, same temps today, plus wind. 5 minutes outside, I can’t feel my fingers anymore. All my sympathies.

  2. cartomancer says

    There are places that don’t get either extreme you know. I’ve lived my whole life without experiencing ambient temperatures much above 30 degrees celsius or much below zero. Generally my world exists in the comfortable band between 15 and 25.

    Though if you are experiencing the pain of severe cold, might I suggest a quick glance at Donald Trump’s twitter feed? That’s sure to get you nice and angried up warm!

  3. pita says

    I am the exact opposite, born and raised in the south and built for warmth. I’m happy to go skip around outside in 90+ degrees, but if it drops below 50, just kill me. This is my first winter in Portland, OR and even with heavy coats and blankets, space heaters, and a sunrise alarm to fight the gloom, I am miserable all the time. Feel like I’m living on goddamn ice planet Hoth.

  4. gijoel says

    Living in a warm climate is fine if you’ve got insulation and air conditioning. It’d be intolerable without it.

  5. numerobis says

    Funny; I was opening my coat and taking my hat off today because it was a balmy -20C out on the sea ice. Yesterday was worse: -17C.

    Three weeks ago I was screaming in pain. When it’s like this for weeks on end, you get used to it.

  6. mikehuben says

    I live in Tena, Ecuador: 500m on the Amazonian side. There are two seasons, the rainy season and the VERY rainy season, totaling maybe 150 inches a year. But the temperature doesn’t go over 85 or under 60 degrees. It’s only hot a few hours in the middle of sunny days, and it is always great for sleeping. Humidity is constantly high.

    Maybe you should join me in retirement here: IKIAM University is hiring. How’s your Spanish? The biodiversity here in the foothills of the Andes is as high as anywhere in the world. But surprisingly, hardly any biting flies bother me here. Much less than in Minnesota. I sleep with my unscreened windows open. An extremely healthy environment!

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    -20C (-4F) pffft. Minneapolis often gets to -20F, now that’s COLD brrrrrrrr /s
    seriously sympathize Mass is”suffering” in the teens (F). actually no big deal, only when yesterday was in the 30’s. The speed of the drop is the important thing. kinda like the sudden stop at the end of a 5 story fall. *splat*
    shit, I’m making light of this. maybe the title of the OP is motivating that direction. I’m just a shitty person. ?

  8. says

    One thing about not living too far south is that the number of dangerous creatures that can sneak into your house is greatly decreased. I’d be utterly paranoid living in a place where poisonous insects, snakes etc. were a possibility.

  9. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    “[pita is] happy to go skip around outside in 90+ degrees, but if it drops below 50, just kills [pita].”

    Similar to my observance of SF in Feb. when temperatures drop to 60F. When I was visiting (on a short business trip) from below freezing NE, all the locals would be bundled up in puffy down jackets while I would be in shirtsleeves baffled at all the puffy jackets in balmy sunshine. Acclimatization is key.
    Yet. even though born and raised in Florida until 9yo, returning as an adult in an August was unbearable.

  10. wzrd1 says

    I’m pretty much the opposite, while I grew up in the Philadelphia PA metropolitan area, I’ve grown to intensely dislike cold. Raynaud’s phenomena can do that, a few seconds of below freezing temperatures, it literally feels like someone ran over my hands with a truck.
    We loved it in the Middle East (and when I was in Djibouti), where we’d hit around 50°C and a brisk breeze most of the summer. It wasn’t until mid-July that the wind died and the humidity skyrocketed.
    I’m most comfortable between 24 and 26°C, with reasonable humidity (we’re living in NW Louisiana now, the humidity here is never reasonable).

  11. Tethys says

    It has warmed up in the Twin Cities to a balmy 11 F. It’s slightly less painful than yesterdays high of 2 F, but I too am more than ready for some temperatures between 20 and 35 F. I’ve never minded winter cold as much as the lack of daylight. It kills off all sorts of nasty garden pests, and I enjoy having four seasons.

    Venezuela has an ideal climate and my Spanish is excellent if a bit rusty. It’s the land of eternal spring, where it never gets horribly hot or cold. It’s major problems are the corruption and rampant crime, but that’s starting to seem like a minor tradeoff after reading some daily wtf news on US current political events.

  12. Kevin Karplus says

    As cartomancer says, there are places that are neither extreme. Santa Cruz, CA, where I live rarely gets frost and rarely gets over 90°F. The difference between summer and winter is whether there is occasional rain (only in winter), as the daily temperature cycle is larger than the annual one.

  13. robro says

    In San Francisco people complain about the cold at 5° degrees and the heat at 25°. Weeks go by with the temperature ranging between 15° and 20°. Plus there aren’t many bugs, particularly mosquitoes, or poisonous reptiles. As a person who grew in NE Florida, this is pretty much heaven.

  14. Rob Grigjanis says

    I never cared much for Toronto winters. Rarely very cold, but changing from cold to mild often, and damp. Living in Edmonton made me fall in love with winter. Apart from occasional -30C spells, it was mostly conducive to outdoor activities like running and cross-country skiing. Even played outdoor soccer down to about -25C if there wasn’t much wind. Good times.

    Now back in Toronto, with a crap knee and a crap back, but still don’t mind the cold. And while not being able to do most repetitious physical tasks (like gardening or painting), by some physiological quirk I can still shovel snow. So I’m good.

  15. lesherb says

    I’m a Long Island, NY native. I moved to Rochester, NY at age 37. The over doing of snow (storms and lake effect) convinced me to move to Florida 2 years later. Now all I do is complain about the heat & humidity. I never should’ve moved away from my native land. We had 3 months for each season like it’s supposed to be ? PS We’re having lovely cold weather here in Florida this weekend as the temperature never got above 50°.

  16. robnyny says

    I like watching the seasons change. Here in New York we have the usual four — winter, spring, summer and autumn. A friend of mine in Florida says they have two — with Canadians and without Canadians.

  17. methuseus says

    Another Florida resident here: This weekend has been the best for at least a year. Yesterday was in the 60’s and windy, which was ok, but today was around 52 with less wind. I complain about the heat and humidity all the time. I enjoyed the cold more, even though I thought I would have a better time down here in Florida.

  18. says

    Well, where I live it’s the wishy-washy medium. I’m looking kind of longingly at the lovely pics of snow some people are posting (but only those with like -5 to -10°C) and a famous popular song goes “when is it finally going to be a real summer again?”, but then I remember that very moderate climate means that even when you get extreme weathers, they’re comparatively moderate as well.

  19. Brian English says

    Define a warm climate. I live near Melbourne, Oz. We joke about the variability of weather around here, and it does change between warm and cold quickly. But those are relative terms. It’s the coldest mainland capital on average. Winter in the city (almost) never frosts, out where I live, a few mild frosts, but the day of a frost is lovely and sunny. Summer is generally OK, a reasonable amount of 30+ days, the odd 40+ with scorching winds. But hardly anything to get worried about. I wouldn’t call that a warm climate. I think because we’re near the ocean, it’s moderate. Besides, if you’re old and joints are creaky, doesn’t warmth help?

  20. says

    Well, if you live another 20-30 years, you’ll know what it’s like to live in a warmer climate. Minnesota will be more like Kansas by then. And Kansas will be like Texas. And Texas will be like… super Texas.

  21. Greta Samsa says

    Area Man, #25
    I’m reminded that I watched so eagerly when it first went up in the hopes that some troll would show up to say “It’s cold in Minnesota? How’s that for Climate Change?”, or something to the effect. It’s been so quiet.

  22. latsot says

    I live in the North East of England. It’s by far the coldest part of England but it doesn’t get cold by Minnesota standards. However, we compensate by never wearing warm clothing, regardless of the temperature. There is no such thing as someone around here wearing a coat.

  23. says

    One way we motivate our students to be concerned about climate change is to tell them that Minnesota will become Kansas in 20 or 30 years. That terrifies them.

  24. wzrd1 says

    I was quite alarmed by the news that the north pole had reached 0C. That induced some serious weather across the US.

  25. Rey Fox says

    I moved to Carlsbad, NM about a year ago. I would gladly trade the month or so of 100+ degree temperatures for a proper winter.

  26. ravensneo says

    Oh I am so with you PZ. I had to relocate to SC 4 years ago from the NE and I am miserable here. A–because of the climate B–because of the South and the Jesus and the Trump and the ignorance. Oh wait, may a is b or the other way round…it was 30 degrees and sunny 2 days ago with cold crisp arctic clean fresh air and sunny skies, I was in heaven! Now back to humid…So hang in there and get some hand and feet warmers!

  27. Crimson Clupeidae says

    I’m the opposite. 110F in the shade, and I’m a happy camper. I hate humidity though, so give me the desert, not that steaming hellhole we call the midwest.

    I recorded 127F on my back parch last summer, but with single digit humidity, it wasn’t intolerable if I stayed in the shade.

    Below about 60F, I start complaining about the cold, but I don’t really hate it unless it gets below 40F. That’s when I stop riding my bicycle due to risk of icing.