Comfort: No longer a scarcity

Living in San Francisco really is spoiling me on weather, so much so that I've actually had a paradigm shift.

Having primarily grown up and lived in Massachusetts, with a short stint in Minnesota, I've been trained to treat comfortable weather as a scarce commodity. In Massachusetts, one gets some nice time in the spring and fall; the summers provide hot and muggy discomfort, which must be fought with water or A/C; and, the winters provide cold, sleet, ice and more cold. Minnesota offers similar weather to Massachusetts in the spring, summer and fall but, for winters, merely provides pain, lots of pain. The scarcity of warmth and comfort in the winter often leads me to wear as little winter gear as possible to get by, saving as much as possible for later. By saving the heaviest of my winter gear for when the winter is the worst, I am able to maintain a relatively constant level of discomfort throughout the season. Thus, by accepting discomfort as inevitable, I am able to ramp up my tolerance to the cold.

Here in San Francisco, however, the weather doesn't really get that bad so there is no reason to tolerate discomfort; abiding discomfort doesn't prepare me for anything. The realization came to me while mopedding to work, when I had the thought, "Man, my face is chilly; I should wear my balaclava next time." This was followed by a train of thought along the lines of, "but then when it gets colder, I'll just be more uncomfortable.", "Wait, this is probably as cold and unpleasant as it's going to get.", "Clearly, I should man up and suffer because it leaves me better prepared.", "Wait, so what?!" All of my reasons to be uncomfortable are founded on the premise that comfort is scarce and one can be best prepared by accepting discomfort; when comfort is not scarce, that is wrong.

Sure it makes me weak and you're all more hardcore for having to put up with the cold but, you know what, I don't care because I'm going to be nice and comfortable wearing my winter coat when it's in the low forties instead of holding out until it drops below twenty.

Comments

Man was not made to live in brutally cold weather; the southward population shift in the U.S. is evidence of this.

Regardless, you were bound to get spoiled; the weather in the Bay Area is pretty much perfect. It's a bit too foggy and rainy in San Francisco proper, but a bit inland is almost idyllic. The spring and summer are almost completely without rain, and with very mild high temperatures and extremely low humidity (especially when compared to Texas and Massachusetts. Winters are similarly mild with occasional heavy rain (or rare hail) at the worst.

One of the oddest shifts for me when I headed east was the premium people placed on getting out during "nice days" in spring and fall. Coming from the Bay Area, I thought people were crazy. Five years later, I was disabused of that notion....