Sell See Us

Brunswick, Maine.

Last Saturday of January.
Sunny, lithely approaching 5°C.

The metric system is good practice for us. It scares most Americans. I will lay it down here to be simple about it.

Water freezes. Water boils. Both of these things happen at certain temperatures.

Take the temperature range between freezing and boiling.

Divide that space between into 100 pieces—for the sake of this post, they’ll be known as degrees.

Freezing is 0°. Boiling is 100°. Consider that 50° (the midpoint, if you will, between boiling and freezing) is scarcely borne by most humans (it’s 122° Fahrenheit). I’ll “chart” it up to that in increments of 5° for anyone that cares, along with some moralistic proclamation of little-or-less repute:

0°C                              32°F                Freezing. Many objects/subjects are frozen solid, especially objects/subjects that were solid beforehand. Water turns to ice, which had been water beforehand. This is not right. Nobody can pretend anymore once freezing occurs; even if you like ice, it must be acknowledged that you can’t do things without clothes without problems.

5°C                              41°F                Cold enough to curse yourself and others, but pretty survivable, if you don’t get wet. Some people are really into this. They are not right. (This is the temperature threshold for refrigeration, by the way. Please refrain from carrying anyone over this threshold.)

10°C                            50°F                Warm enough for the people to be jubilant in winter, yet cool enough for parents on a camping trip to want to hurl themselves off of elevated surfaces in despair. They’re both right.

15°C                            59°F                Mild and pretty merciful. This is also a tropical paradise for people ensconced by the hostile-indeed elements. Yet it’s not a panacea—if it were accompanied by precipitation, then it would be most unpleasant. You’d swear it as divine retribution for some illusory trespass, but bystanders would suggest that you were wallowing a bit. They would be right.

20°C                            68°F                “Room temperature” is a misnomer whose use is sufficiently frequent as to enjoy near-unanimous recognition in our sad little lives. A room can be any temperature when a bunch of whateverness is pumped into it. It is not right.

25°C                            77°F                This is possibly the only neighborhood of temperatures that can boast having universality of appeal. No one complains—even in New England, where that’s kind of their “thing.” Instead, they complain about the past (it’s over) or the future (it’s endless). Everyone is right, but everything remains wrong.

30°C                            86°F                Transcribing these values just now, I swooned in my idealization of this beatific temperature. On a day of this temperature, if you really want to do so, you can listen closely for the unconvincing mutterings/utterances from elderly gadfly types; it is crucial to remember, however, that they're continuing to live only out of spite. Or you can mutter your own utterance. It's only right and natural.

35°C                            95°F                This satisfies existing thermal criteria for hot. It does not have to be unpleasant, either—I used to drive a little Geo Metro, and on days where conditions were thus, I’d get into my car, roll up the windows (if they’d been opened), start the car, activate the heater at full intensity, and sit there. That was right before my diagnosis.

40°C                            104°F              I have always referred to this as “riot weather,” because unrest is fomented in all living things, and it can get very nasty. This is a real swelter. I’m not even enjoying writing to you about it in my blog; I’ve caught myself holding my breath and tensing my shoulders. It couldn’t possibly be right.

45°C                            113°F              Does anybody actually like this kind of heat? As a species, we can generally handle 40° (104°F) before things go awry with our bodies. After that, we lose the right to make rational choices, like the heat has flagrantly usurped Power of Attorney, but worse, because your brain is cooking inside your head. Basically, by now it behooves us not to think of ourselves as living creatures per se, but to adjust our expectations of ourselves and each other.

50°C                            122°F              Previously discussed.

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