Thursday, October 25, 2012

Like the weather

Right now, I am in the UCSD library surrounded by people wearing tank tops and shorts and others wearing sweaters and coats. In my previous lives, some of these people would have been clearly wrong while others would be clearly right. It would be either too cold for shorts, or it would not be. This was not a matter of your preference, but of uncontrollable climatological circumstance. You do not decide the weather; it decides you. In San Diego, this is not the case. Temperature is an entirely subjective judgment. "Too cold" and "too warm" are not applicable categories.* Would you like to wear shorts today? A winter coat? Done, or done. Or perhaps done and done, as is the case in the common combination of t-shirt, shorts, and Uggs. Yesterday, for example, I wore knee-high leather boots over bare legs with a sleeveless dress. Sure, I felt silly, but I passed at least half a dozen women who'd made the same choice of weather, and many people who had made diametrically opposed choices, and then I decided that I choose my choice** and felt pretty good about it. A few more months here, and I may reach the pinnacle of liberal theory's autonomy. Then I will start making my own laws, and that will be a great day for everyone.

*"Too hot" remains, however, a real and problematic state of affairs, usually announced when the temperature exceeds 75 degrees, at which time, those who would choose to wear coats that day are subjected to physical discomfort and thus have their choices unjustifiably foreclosed.
**Four years on, it's still one of the best article titles I've come across.

Overheard at Starbucks:
Woman on phone with her brother, who feels sick: You're probably just dehydrated because of this heat. You need to drink a LOT of water.
It is, again, 79 degrees.

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