Monday, July 8, 2013

Acclimated, by David Nobles

Something is seriously wrong. It's July in West Texas and I'm cold.

In case you're not from around here, "July in West Texas" means H-O-T. Midland, a city in the desert, has been well above the century mark for weeks. The power company is loving it, as are the AC repair guys, but everybody else, not much.

My Beautiful Bride has been running our AC at home pretty high. Or is it 'pretty low'? I never know how to say that. Do you turn it up to make it colder, or turn it down? Anyway, she wants it cold, and it is so cold that while she is enjoying it, I'm wrapping up in quilts to get warm. Thankfully, we have lots and lots...and lots....of quilts
(See Saturday morning I knew I would be doing several things in various parts of the house, so I just put on warm-up pants, wool socks, and a long sleeve t-shirt and I was comfortable.

My office building can't get it right either. Through most of June while it was cooking outside, I was freezing. The system blew cold air all day long. I have a thermostat, or at least a wall decoration that looks like a thermostat. Modern art, who can figure it out, right? The temp gauge on the thing said it was in the mid-60s but it felt more like the mid-40s. Changing the settings did no good, of course, it's all set on a computer in Bangladesh--so I just ran my little space heater and wore a jacket. When I left for lunch, it felt great to step outside and stand in the sunshine for a few minutes. Walking to my car, I seriously considered sitting at some restaurant's outside table. However, getting in the car cured me of such blasphemy.

After several weeks like that, I complained about the cold in my office and sure enough, the crackerjack building guys took care of it. For the next week, I sat next to my fan with my sleeves rolled up; I was sweating. The temp gauge said it was in the 80s and I think it was accurate that time. Adjusting the fake thermostat settings did not change anything, thanks to the guys in Bangladesh.

Saturday night we got a little rain (and a lot of hail) and things cooled down. Sunday morning as we left for church, we were stunned when we noticed the outside thermometer read 75. A few nights before that I went outside late in the evening and it felt like I had walked into an oven. I thought the desert was supposed to lose its heat at night, but the mercury told me it was 98 degrees. At 11 p.m.! So, a 75-degree Sunday morning was a very pleasant surprise. When we got the church, however, the guys in Bangladesh had a good laugh. They had the building temp set for 100-plus degrees outside, meaning it was absolutely freezing in there. We go to one of those new casual churches, and I have worn shorts to Sunday services. I didn't yesterday, but I did wear a t-shirt. Yes, Mom, it was a nice one, clean with no holes in it. Well, let's just say no one was going to sleep through that sermon.

This morning it's cloudy and looks like rain. I'll believe THAT when it happens. Annually, we have about 355 days of sunshine. Being a weatherman in West Texas has to be the easiest job in the world. Here's a typical exchange on the 10 p.m. newscast: Anchor guy: "Now let's check in on the weather. Norm, what does it look like tomorrow?" Weather guy: (Brightly, with a big smile) "Sunny and hot, Al, sunny and hot," (Aside, frowning and in a frustrated tone) "Just like always."  Because of this morning's clouds, I shivered a little as I walked to the office from my car. It's all the way down in the 70s out there.

Isn't it funny what we get used to? Apparently I have acclimated to the heat, because a day in the 70s shouldn't make me feel cold.

What else have I "acclimated" to in my life? My dad is a retired preacher, and he used to tell the story of the frog in the kettle. Drop a frog in boiling water, and he will jump out instantly. Put him in room temperature water, though, and slowly increase the heat to boiling and he will stay there and die. We get used to things, all too often to our detriment.

Most everyone has things in their lives that have been there so long, they are not noticed any more. What have you acclimated to that just shouldn't be there?
Thanks to David Nobles for today's essay. David, our son and our third child, lives in Midland, Texas, where he is chief counsel for Dawson Geophysical. I enjoy his humor, and I hope you do, too.

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