72 degrees: The eternal search for weather bliss
My wife Susan is from Los Angeles. The weather there is 72 and sunny. LA doesn’t need a weather forecaster although they do have them. I assume their pay must be the worst in the nation. In their defense, they do have to tell you if it is foggy at the airport, and that can vary.
We moved to Minneapolis in 1981, to Des Moines in 1988, to Boston in 1991 and finally to Fitzwilliam in 1995. All are big cities except Fitzwilliam. All except Los Angeles have one thing in common. Weather. They have it.
Susan has been what I call a typical Angeleno. Weather is not something she has naturally followed. This changed when Apple came out with the iPhone. Now she looks up the weather on a weather app that she consults daily.
As a gardener, she wants to be in the longest growing season imaginable. It is this last word that gives us trouble, imaginable. I have been in every state except Oklahoma and, as a result, I don’t imagine the weather in other places. I have lived it.
Susan and I like and don’t like similar things about the weather. We prefer it dry rather than humid. We don’t like ice storms, deep snow, or long winters. We like the seasons.
Still, I am less fussy and for good reason. The weather in my study is very good. It is often 72 and if lamp light counts, sunny. It doesn’t rain or snow. Most of the time it is not humid. If it becomes so, I move to the love seat in the kitchen with the window air conditioner.
Meanwhile, Susan is out in the garden mulching, clipping or planting. Correct that, the words are mulching, weeding and pruning, planting. She battles black flies, geese and mosquitoes. On the hottest days she contends with humidity and direct sunlight and in winter she must stay inside. I can see why she favors 72 and sunny.
This is why I enjoy reading and writing. I don’t need a face net. Bug spray is unnecessary, as is sunscreen. I can keep trim with a daily 20 minute walk and occasional select exercises like pushups and sit ups.
One drawback to our diverse lifestyles not yet mentioned. My penchant for not being a handy man. What I do around the house can be summed up in a word, nothing. Others have picked up on this.
When someone I regularly correspond with did not in my view respond fast enough I emailed them a, “What’s up, where have you been?” They shot back an email saying, “We don’t all have a Susan.”
The good news is I do. I am glad she likes me. I would like her even if she didn’t do all she does and apparently she likes me even if I do nothing.
Susan has no place where we have lived that she wants to return. Nor do I. She does imagine one place we haven’t lived that stands out above all others, Kansas City. Her weather app frequently points out it is sunnier and warmer there than the weather we are experiencing.
Partially in self defense, I now have the same weather app. I often point out Kansas City is not so much 72 and sunny as it is 92 and humid. Susan told me not to worry. We don’t have to move until I am dead. Comforting thought, I am working on the bliss part.
Bob Ritchie is pastor of Bennington Congregational Church and a regular contributor.