It may have been colder when I was young and walked 10 miles to school in sneakers and a windbreaker, uphill both ways, but it doesn’t feel that way.
It seems some of us old folk lose our insulation, also known as blubber, and it makes anything under 70 degrees uncomfortable.
It might be nice to have a warm body, preferably female, to cuddle with but then I’d have to feed her, listen to her, and lose access to my bathroom. So how does a flatulent old guy keep warm when the temperature dives into the penguin and polar bear zone?
First, you have to have a dog. Dogs aren’t real wild about the cold, especially at tinkle time. After they’ve made some yellow snow they like to burrow next to any source of warmth. This is where people get to return the best friend relationship to equality. There’s nothing like a wet, shivering mutt curled up on your lap to make your heart glow.
This intimacy extends to bedtime. The Foz Man wouldn’t go anywhere near the bed when it was warmer. Now, he waits by the door and for me to place him under a fold in the comforter. He disappears into his dog cave until morning or we need a restroom run.
A lovely thing, the prostate. It’s like the appendix, you don’t know you have one until it decides its moment of fame has arrived. Its demands for attention have added a new dimension to my existence. I know the location and open hours of every restroom in the county. I also know a couple of lonely rural roadside areas to prevent an unpleasant conversation with law enforcement.
The old prostate has also caused another significant alteration in my life. I can no longer mainline coffee. I drank gallons of vending machine coffee every day at work at Ford. It was coffee only in name. When not imbibing it we used it as a powerful solvent for removing grease and stains. I had coffee the instant I woke up and drank a cup or two before bed. When I smoked, a cigarette and cup of java was the perfect mating of two bad habits in a glorious riot of caffeine and nicotine.
Alas, I’ve strayed from my theme.
I’ve learned a few other tricks for keeping warm. Shoveling snow will put the old body into furnace mode. A good heavy snow is a workout and about the only exercise I get in the winter.
There is a downside. The mature among us know about herniated disks and muscle strain. The not-so-bright shovel snow until they pull a muscle in the herniated disk area. Then we spend the next few days grunting and wincing every time we breathe too hard or stand up.
Another warm up tip I’d suggest: When driving, set the heat to roast and leave it there. There’s no sense in venting all that warmth to the outside. I’ll only turn the temp down a few notches when Foz starts to pant and attempts to roll a window down. He’s my canary in the coal mine early warning system against heat stroke in the dead of winter.
You know it gets a little warm in the car when the dog runs outside and rolls in the snow to cool down after a trip to the bank or grocery store. You think he’d stop riding with me but his memory is as short as mine. Oh, and he doesn’t mind the flatulence, either. In fact, he’s about as rotten as I am and he’s down right sneaky about it. He is the SBD (Silent But Deadly) King in this house.
Finally, the liberal application of antifreeze works wonders for the single person intent on keeping warm. Antifreeze comes in many varieties including, but not limited to, wine, beer, and liquor. I fall in with the liquor column of this triad. It is by far the most versatile. You have the hot toddy, spiked egg nog as long as you go easy on the nog, any number of flaming concoctions, and my personal favorite, rum and Diet Pepsi. It’s this poor man’s Cuba libre.
Now that many people are single and unencumbered, I hope my notions help my many compatriots in living alone. Half of all adults are single and 28 percent of all households are one person.
We single people have to stand together, just not in the same room.