I hate spring because it’s not winter, I hate summer because it’s not spring, I hate fall because it’s not summer, and winter I just hate, period.
“Hate” is a very strong word, and I don’t use it lightly. To be more accurate, I don’t hate the four seasons, but rather the arguments about temperature and climate control that they create between my wife and me.
Whenever we drive anywhere together, the conversation always turns from vital issues of the day — world peace, gun control, Mike Tyson having sex with a prison official while he was incarcerated in the ’90s — to the temperature inside the car. Like the Three Bears’ porridge, one of us is always too hot or too cold and seldom just right.
This bickering has continued as long as we’ve been together, which some days feels contemporaneous to the construction of the Sphinx on the long side or George Washington’s first false-teeth fitting on the short, especially where weather is concerned.
When we travel, my wife is almost always shivering, which causes her to turn the heat to high. Meanwhile, just across the gearshift, I’m melting like snow in an oven and stripping down to shorts and a T-shirt.
A dual-control heater should have solved the dilemma, but hasn’t. Yes, we can each blast hot and cold air simultaneously, but for dual controls to work, both sides have to be blasting something, and there’s the rub. Often, I’m not hot enough to require air conditioning, but cold air has to blow from my vents in order for hot air to blow from hers. So I may, ironically, become cold enough to need a little warmth on my side, but not cold enough to need the ongoing, undulating waves of lava issuing from Satan’s furnace on the passenger side.
We don’t have a temperature gauge inside the car, but I firmly believe that it sometimes crests 90 degrees, especially during longer trips when I feel like the Wicked Witch of the West, just doused with a bucket of water and wailing, “I’m melting, melting, melting.”
But that’s nothing compared to the bed. There, too, we have dual controls, this time to adjust temperatures on a heated mattress pad. My wife often keeps her control on “10″ (the highest setting), while mine remains on “2″ or off completely. Yet like the car, the residual effect of my spouse’s heating choices is to broil me like a hot dog in a convenience-store rotisserie. When I kick off the covers, it’s the automobile all over again, as I’m too chilled to go completely without blankets yet too feverish to crawl back under.
If you’ve been reading carefully (or even if you’ve not — I’m not exactly subtle), then you have likely picked up on the fact that I consider myself the victim here. But, Chris, you say (and don’t deny you’re out there — I can feel your beady little eyes staring at me through the page), it’s just as much your fault for being overly warm as it is hers for being overly cold.
And I’m almost willing to concede this point. But …
I almost wrote, “With my wife, there is always a big but,” except I’m not so warm-blooded that I could comfortably sleep outdoors for the rest of my natural life, so let’s instead go with “however.”
However, in the fall and winter, she seldom wears a coat, finding them “too bulky.” Instead, she relies on the tropical heat wave inside the car. I, meanwhile, wear winter coats and spring jackets, except when my role as Satan’s chauffeur causes me to unceremoniously shed them or risk dehydration.
If America’s car manufacturers really want to innovate and recapture Detroit’s glory days, they need to forget hybrids and design a car that can be both a convertible and a rolling, coal-fired train engine, simultaneously.
If not that, then at least they could install a pole next to the driver’s seat. That way, when I strip down as far as propriety and the law allows, I can dance around it at intersections.
Maybe I could make enough in tips from passing motorists to buy my wife a sauna, so she can feel how I feel. As the Wicked Witch once said, “What a world, what a world …”
@cschillig on Twitter
Originally published April 26, 2012, in The Alliance Review.