It was borderline impossible to pry myself out of bed. I sleep in a ridiculous pile of blankets and pillows spread across an illegally comfortable mattress. The prospects of coffee and accomplishment normally get me up and moving somewhere before noon on a regular day, but today was tough. Today it was cold.
Don’t misunderstand; I prefer to sleep in the cold. I’m that guy. I keep my AC at home set on sixty-seven year round and I crank the hotel thermostat down when I’m on the road. I cannot bear to sleep when it’s hot. Some people can, and I don’t understand them. Only rarely do I find myself in the charge of these mysterious Heat People; a random friend or relative whose home I’m crashing for the night, a person who lives blissfully in an incubator. I’m never ungrateful for their hospitality no matter how miserably I get through the night. I will simply toss and turn in silence, dripping sweat and lying on top of the blankets until morning comes and I can walk outside to cool off under the sweltering Texas summer sun.
Who lives like that? Maybe these people grew up on a cul-de-sac in southern Hell and maybe their parents made them take naps in the oven as toddlers, but my body chemistry can’t function in that environment. There should be some sort of compromise so that everyone is comfortable. For instance, I’ll set the temperature to 70 degrees in your house, and then you can go sleep in the clothes dryer.
Despite my usual love for the cold though, even I have my limits. I can only handle it as long I have an out. Mornings are fine because I can crawl out from underneath the covers, turn the heater on, jump in a hot shower, and walk out to a warm room. When I am put into the constant cold though, I whine like a little girl. I spent one rebellious January night a decade or so ago camping with a friend of mine in temperatures that dipped down somewhere around Taylor Swift’s age. It was a horrible night compounded by the realization that the morning wouldn’t bring any respite. I was one big frozen complaint. That knowledge has prompted me to buy a zero degree rated sleeping bag in the off chance I’m ever faced with a similar situation.
Last night I pulled that bag out again. I came home from a gig in Oklahoma to find that the heater in my house had committed suicide. Not that the winter’s here are insufferable by any means, but the past week has consistently hovered in the forties and the massive windows in my bedroom do very little to help with insulation. I fell asleep under a mountain of blankets and awoke to see my breath escaping, cloud-like, from my mouth. I buried myself beneath the covers to combat my fear that I would freeze instantly, like a combination lock sprayed with liquid nitrogen. Hopefully, I thought to myself, that sort of thing only happens in the movies.
Eventually I talked myself into facing the icy air. There were certainly solutions waiting for me out there in that frozen, waking world. I had things to do and I needed to figure out a way to raise the temperature. I called Home Depot to see if they had a space heater but they informed me that those were “seasonal” down here. This is Texas and apparently winter already happened here on January 8th. I missed it.
So now I’m up. I’m huddled at my desk wearing three t-shirts and a brown hooded sweatshirt that makes me look like a shivering little Jedi or a really tall Jawa. Feel free to choose whichever Star Wars metaphor makes you feel the happiest. I am confronted with the ugly reality that I wouldn’t have survived in a pre-technological society.
The American frontier would probably have pushed me somewhere closer to Mexico, where I would have happily fought for independence from Spain in exchange for the promise of more comfortable temperatures. My ability to get through the day should not ride on whether or not some piece of climate controlling equipment decided to commit seppuku. If 2012 thrusts us into a post-apocalyptic landscape, I can only hope that I’m truly enough of a forward thinker to have booked myself for a show in Hawaii on December 20.