I slept during 80% of my flight home from Denver. I was fading in and out of consciousness when the pilot made that announcement, but the man's reaction beside me woke me up quickly. I wiped the drool from my chin.
"I don't know how you people do it," he looked at me, then back out the window.
"What's that?" I asked, trying to pull myself together after my tiger snooze over four fly-over states.
"Live here. Twelve degrees. Twelve degrees? How do you survive?"
How do we survive twelve degree temperatures? Pretty easily, I thought to myself.
We wear coats, heavy ones.
We keep blankets in our cars and ice melt just inside our business entrances.
We let our pets inside and we check our stock.
Especially the babies.
We eat meals that "stick to our ribs" like beef stew and corn bread.
We plug in our tractors, buses and trucks over night.
We drink extra coffee.
We wear socks.
The man continued. "I'm from San Diego and if it hits fifty-five, I don't go outside."
I realized twelve degrees certainly separated my row mate and I. If he lived in Indiana with the "fifty-five degree rule", he would miss October through April. He wouldn't see a high school football game or go sledding. No snowmen would live and no snow angles would fly. Sad existence.
I looked over at the man as he wrung his hands over and over while looking out the window. He was sincerely nervous about the climate outside. I was looking forward to the piercing cold air after a stuffy plane ride.
I couldn't imagine what was going through his head.
But then again, I didn't have to try to.
I had watched it last week on Kimmel: