The mercury outside my Maine window, right now, registers 20 degrees F. It will fall to 16 come later tonight, according to the gurus at weather.com, and that’s frankly an improvement over recent conditions. In the New Year we’ve experienced several days where it never climbed out of single digits. There were two nights in particular, last week, when overnight temperatures were below zero everywhere in the state.
Tomorrow morning I decamp for the Dominican Republic and the much-ballyhooed delights of Casa de Campo, probably the finest golf resort in the entire Caribbean, and for once I am not dreading the 4 a.m. alarm. Bring it on.
I do a lot of business in Southeast Asia, with Southeast Asians, naturally, and I’ve found they are nearly as curious about life in Maine as we New Englanders are about life in Bali, or Jakarta, or Saigon. I love to lay this one on them:
It’s quite cold here today.
It’s 4 degrees…
Oh my goodness.
That last bit fairly well blows their minds. They literally cannot conceive of it, because they don’t really comprehend Fahrenheit (as so many Americans don’t get Celsius) and many have never set foot anywhere that cold.
And why, unless one skis, would anyone purposely set foot in a place that could potentially serve up temperatures that freakin’ cold? There is no reason… Don’t sit around and wait for a caveat, not from me. If you weren’t born a Norwegian, or a Mainer, or a Siberian, which would oblige even the most heartless Norwegian, Mainer or Siberian expatriate to eventually go home and see his mom, there is no reason.
There are things you learn about yourself when living in a climate like Maine’s. For starters, we are the lifeblood of places like Casa de Campo, where right now it’s 77 degrees F (and partly cloudy, for the record). If it weren’t for us sub-arctic masochists landing there all through January and February — kissing the ground in La Romana upon arrival — they could never have afforded to pay Pete Dye to design 63 holes.
Here’s another thing I’ve learned about my Boston-born, Maine-residing self: I know intrinsically when it drops below 5 degrees F, because, upon venturing out of doors, the snot in my nose instantly crystallizes with that first nasal in-take. Actually, last Thursday night after poker I was standing outside and experienced this very sensation. Smart phones at the ready, we determined it to be only 7 degrees, not 5. I must be getting old.
But, honestly, be it 5 degrees or 7, this is something I don’t need to know about myself, or needn’t be reminded of.
What I need to know, right now, is how many pairs of shorts to pack.