Saturday, October 24, 2009

Meanderings: The Coming of the Cold

There's a slight nip in the air tonight, the same air, if not the same molecules, which earlier radiated heat worthy of a blast furnace in the Amazon. For a few days last week, the temperature plummeted, not with the seasonal relief of tonight's breezes, but with that bone chilling Northern cold. Of course, the temperature never went below 40, 60 during the day.
We're not used to it, but then Northerners have never endured 40 with our humidity, the experience like that of being massaged by icy fingers. It is not unusual to go to bed cold in such a case, since heat is a touch and go sort of thing here, usually attached to the central air.

Such is possible because there are years here in Sarasota when you don't even get to wear a sweater. Even in a bad year, sweater weather days can be counted on the fingers of your hands. When the temperature does dip, the locals emerge, a riotous and improvised display of jarring wardrobe don'ts. It could be that by throwing a pullover sweater over our shorts-clad bodies and flip-flopped feet we deny the coming reality of winter, at the same time we celebrate the relief in the incessant heat that is our daily portion. (Northerners, just think how you feel on the first warm day of Spring.) Then once we get used to the idea of winter, we start wearing pants, sometimes even socks. (If you ever want to spot the tourists in December, just look for the shorts.) On the rare occasion when coats are called for, it's really easy to spot the locals. A really cold day sets in motion of fashion show of styles from the 60's on, an exhibition worthy of the Costume Institute, as no one has purchased a coat here since the day the moving van drove away.

Tonight's air is merely soothing, long-sleeve weather, not much. It excites, enlivens, but that's it. By noon tomorrow, it will be on the sweaty side of balmy, and maybe, just maybe, by nightfall the air conditioner will get a long-deferred, but well-earned rest. One can hope.