Friday, June 11, 2010

72 Degrees

This was the magic number when I was a child -- 72 degrees. When warm spring weather rolled around in Connecticut each May, we kids would tear off the sweaters or jackets we wore to school in the morning coolness and carry them home, along with the stacks of books we carried in our arms. (This was "BB", ie, "Before Backpacks", at least before backpacks were used by school children to tote their books around.)

But my mother had a "magic number", and that magic number was 72. No matter that we kids were sweaty from a long uphill walk home from school on a sunny spring afternoon, if the thermometor outside the kitchen window read less than 72 degrees Farenheit, the sweaters/jackets were supposed to stay on. No matter that we kids ran around like banshees playing tag, or hide and seek, or any variety of imaginative play, no matter that we truly got warm while actively playing, we were supposed to wear the sweater or jacket until that thermometer hit the magic number.

Of course, we didn't always comply. As soon as Mom was out of our line of sight, if we were running around and started feeling warm, we ditched the outer clothing layer. We could run around in 90 degree weather and 90 percent humidity back then. Now, I'm lucky if I don't faint on my way from my air conditioned car into the coolness of my Dad's shaded house.

I now live in California, a much drier, less humid climate. I never used the air conditioning in my car until a few years ago, except on those few very hot 95 degree days in the Bay Area summer. But I find that lately the temperature in my car is set almost permanently at 68 degrees because I am almost always hot. While not environmentally correct, I think this 56 year old female is entitled to a few extra degrees of coolness for a while. When I am 80 and want the heat cranked up to 75 degrees, I will happily pile on a few more blankets instead.

If she were alive today, somehow I do not think my mother would approve.

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