It's the first (second?) day of fall and — like that — I can't get warm. I’ve thrown on a shawl, and then, when that didn't work, a hoodie over my long-sleeved shirt and sweater. I've closed windows and made myself a cup of tea. Soon, I'll be contemplating long underwear, wool socks.
My space heater died this past March — the heating coil itself gave out and the company no longer makes replacement parts, so I had to trash the entire thing. Okay, not trash it so much as e-waste it, but still, a waste when everything else worked just fine. So now I will resent buying a new one as much as I resent the cold and my poorly insulated office and how I shiver in here all winter, stubbornly refusing to heat the whole house for just me. "Just turn on the heat," say all my friends. "Just relax. You deserve it." But I won't. If I did, I would simply be distracted by the greediness of my warmth, the sheer irresponsibility of its vast inefficiency. Might as well stay cold if I'm going to be distracted, throw on a toque in the house, fingerless gloves. Make another pot of tea — even if that means I venture more often out of my office to the frigid bathroom.
The kids are big now, and already rangy on weekend mornings and now I flash ahead to the winter months, to all this ranginess with no easy outlet, no barefoot outdoors to send them or to escape to myself. I was so ready for summer to end, but I'm never — no one is ever — ready to be cold, to not move easily through the house, from outside to inside and back.
When I'm 85, maybe my kids will come visit me at this house in the winter and yell at me to turn up the heat. Maybe I'll swat them away, offer them some tea. They will mock me then, in the way that adult children gently mock their parents for simply continuing on in the ways they always have, stubbornly clinging to all that's familiar. It's just that the kids don't really notice, now, what I do, already. I wonder when they will, if they will, or if in fact it will be me, not noticing the ways in which I will become dottier, more stubborn, as I age.
This post was written for Just Write. Check out Heather’s post and all the posts of all who joined in this week.