A cold day

Published 11:35 pm Saturday, June 30, 2007

The PRC school board meeting had not started yet, there was a question about the air conditioning. The women sitting in front of the a/c were cold so Jodi Penton had turned it off. It didn’t take long before the men were waving papers and commenting on the heat.

Dennis Penton said it was strange but men had different thermostats than women did and they were usually cold and men were usually hot. He made the comment to Billy Spence.

Only my family and possibly my work family can understand the white- knuckled grasp I have on restraint at any public meeting. Maybe you could tell I’ve got a huge collection of opinions on just about everything. I have teeth indentions in my tongue at meetings I attend for the purpose of reporting on them. So you know I just had to interject after Penton’s comment, “Only to a certain age.” But, his comment did remind me of something.

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I do remember the days a long time ago and not quite in a galaxy far away, when I my thermostat was normal and I was generally cold when my husband was sweating buckets. It was a good thing there wasn’t such a thing as dual controls on the air conditioning in automobiles back then or we would have been like Rita Rudner and her husband in their new, dual-control equipped car. She said when they discovered that feature, she would turn the temperature up on her side and he would turn his down to glacier level. They had hardly gotten to the corner of their street before clouds began to form in their car.

What Penton said is true up to a certain age. Then it reverses. Have you notice this phenomenon?

A fifty year old woman can be standing in front of a glacial gale and her face will turn beet red, her hair will plaster to her head and her clothes will become sticky. It is called hot flashes. I read some where that old women don’t have hot flashes, they have power surges. Regardless, it is most uncomfortable.

I also read somewhere that some doctor did a study and these hot flashes only last about three minutes. I should be so lucky. Then I got to paying attention and that does seem to be true, they last for three minutes. Unfortunately, they sometimes come in waves and the three minutes may stretch into half an hour. If the air conditioning is turned down to a comfortable 68 degrees, then the hot flashes are not a problem, just a minor irritation.

It took moving back to my mom’s and dad’s after my divorce to fully appreciate the reversal of gender thermostats. At temperatures that fry eggs on concrete, dad would be drinking coffee and admiring what ever project he was working on. At temperatures that melt chocolate, he was most comfortable watching TV.

I would go in my room and raise both windows so the arctic temperatures that freeze water could combat the temperatures that melt wax which raged in my body. I had to let mom fend for herself on this, while I shut the door. I prayed that God would skip summer just that year so I could go outside when these power surges flooded my face, so I could cool down.

One night we were watching TV. I was comfortable for once. Dad commented he was cold. Mom said she was fine. I was praying the conversation wouldn’t end with the temp rising. Ever innovative, dad could usually solve any problem. Soon he came out from the back all wrapped up in his down-filled parka, his hood pulled up and the ties dangling at his cheeks.

“Dad, where are you going?”

“To the couch,” was his reply.