Couldn’t stand the weather

August 4, 2022 Comments Off on Couldn’t stand the weather

I was standing at the counter. It was a big shopping day for me. Milk, an onion, a green bell pepper, a pound of brown rice, five mushrooms. The clerk looked at me. “Another hot day,” he said, and he looked miserable.

I suppose it was hot. 105 degrees or thereabouts. But he was sitting behind an air conditioned counter. I was on a bike and about to ride 1.2 miles up a long hill.

The weather is just one more excuse to stay fat, lazy, and indoors. And when people complain about it, it’s always underlain by this implication: If the weather weren’t so fucking coldhotrainymuggywindydry then I would be out there killing it.

Which brings to mind this saying of Tore the Norwegian: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices.”

I’ve spent a lot of my life out in bad weather, but not as much as Russell DiBarbieris, a/k/a Ol’ Grizzles from Houston. One day it was about a hundred degrees with 95% humidity and he, Tore, and I were doing a hundred mile ride. I collapsed at mile 80 on the pancake flat feeder road of I-10. Russell and Tore nursed me to a Stop-n-Go, gave me change to buy a Gatorade, and left me for alive, barely.

Russell was 62. Tore was from Norway. Apparently the fact that it was “another hot day” didn’t have much meaning for either of them, other than the fact that it was, well, hot.

Fields was another character who viewed weather as a variable to which one adapted rather than an iron law that dictated whether one cycled or sat on his ass. If it was really cold, he wore really warm clothes. If it rained, he wore a rain jacket. If it was hot, he took a lot of water and suffered. He also did that wacky thing you do on hot days, he left really early to minimize his time in the furnace.

The problems with letting the weather tell you what to do are twofold. First, it makes you fat and lazy. The weather’s never perfect. Even in the Weather Heaven of LA, it’s never perfect. Some days it’s too cool. Too warm. Or it might rain for five minutes. Or it’s windy, a wee bit. Very wee. When the weather tells you what to do, you do nothing.

The people in Wofford Heights are always inside even though they live on the doorstep of the world’s most astounding playscape. In summer it’s too hot and in winter it’s too cold. In spring it’s too windy and in fall it’s so beautiful but hey, NFL. People here are fat and lazy. Outdoors to them is anathema, which is fine except for the underlying implication that if it were just a little different and more perfect and more fill-in-the-blank, they’d go out and fucking set the world on fire.

The second problem with letting the weather tell you what to do is the fallacy that there is such a thing as “weather,” some kind of fixed atmospheric condition that only Dog can overcome. In fact, weather is a many-colored thing. In the early morning it’s cool and breezy, in the late morning it’s cool, in the afternoon it’s hotter than fuck, and in the evening it’s cool again. Compare that to Texas, and its four seasons of summer-summer-summer-winter.

When the clerk complained about another hot day, we both knew that whatever the weather he was going to go home after his shift, flick on the TV, crack open a beer, eat some bad food, and jerk off on #socmed until bedtime at 3:00 am, all under climate-controlled temps.

And the more you grovel at the feet of the weather, the less your body can adapt to it. Fat is antithetical to thermoregulation. The fatter you are, the less you can adjust your temperature to the heat. One guy I know told me that his wife “is allergic to the heat.” And even if you’re not fat, the more sedentary you are the less you can adjust to the swings in the day’s temperature gradient.

As Kristie said, “It’s global warming. The earth is hotter and will get moreso. Better get out in it and teach your body how to adapt.” Because your body can and will adapt, but only if you force it to do what it was designed to do.

Funniest of all, it’s only by being outdoors that you realize what a load of crap the “weather” really is. I went for a walk this morning on a day that should have been scalding, a short 3.6-mile stroll with 1,300-feet of climbing. It was cool, breezy, beautiful, refreshing, invigorating, mind-clearing.

Then I came home and had breakfast, got on my bike near ten o’clock, when the last vestiges of cool are going to be replaced by the blast furnace of the day. It was hot until I got to Limestone, when I experienced a first–a huge summer rain in the Southern Sierra. It had rained so hard on the pass that the river ran black with the runoff. The road was soaking wet and so was I. Rather than baking in the heat I was cooled in the blissful summer shower.

There were a few miles homeward bound that counted as hot, but as soon as I left Kernville the clouds reappeared, and the final climb home was anointed with the sweet smell of ozone and the miracle of rain. Can’t stand the weather? Maybe it’s life you can’t stand. Put down the phone and the TV and the excuses and do what you are uniquely evolved to do: Live and move outdoors.


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