Last night was forecast to be quite low, temperature wise. Teen temps with single digit wind chills were mentioned. One does what one can to prepare for such in the South and then you hunker down, stay warm and hope for the best.
At 6:30 a.m. I peeked out the front door. There was no frost. None. Notta. The rooftops were clear, grass was brown and cars showed no indication of frostiness.
I opened the door and felt a rush of cold air hit me – cold but not so cold that it took my breath away.
Curious about how things in the unheated garage fared, I slipped on flip flops and threw on a jacket.
The back door opened easily, but the storm door was a solid sheet of ice. The handle was frozen…had to break it loose to open the door. “Odd,” I thought since the icing was on the INSIDE of the door and not the outside.
Outside I slipped and as I did so I checked the storm door handle to make sure I would be able to regain entry once finished in the garage.
It was a quick walk from the kitchen door to the garage door. I passed the garden, now dead and in need of a quick burial. I slipped under a trailing rosebush and as I swept a cane away noticed how odd it looked (plastic like) and how it felt (frozen). The ground beneath me felt hard. There was no spring or bounce to my step.
Odd. Especially so since it didn’t feel all that cold.
The garage door opened easily and I slipped inside, quickly closing the door behind me. It felt warm within – or warmer than it had outside. The two light bulbs I’d set to burn were still blazing and the plants looked quite different than those outside. I breathed a sigh of relief and turned the dryer on for good measure. A little added heat couldn’t hurt.
Back outside I went and there I stood for a moment. It felt deceptively warm – dangerously so. My hands and feet were exposed and neither felt any degree of discomfort. No chill swept over me. The sun, not yet fully up, gave little warmth and there was no breeze to stir the cold air.
Why didn’t I feel cold? At 20°F, in a light jacket and old sweat pants, with bare feet and hands, I should have felt cold.
But, I didn’t. And, the longer I stood there, the more comfortable I became.
The cold should have triggered a primal survival response. I should have felt the biting sting of the cold on my nose, toes and finger tips. I should have shivered and quivered and been eager to regain the warmth of my house. Instead of standing barefoot in the cold, I should have been driven to find warmth.
But, I wasn’t.
When you’re comfortable, there’s no drive to change anything. When everything feels fine, there’s no realization that something is amiss and in those moments of disconnect harm can befall us. Deceptively warm situations, people, opportunities, directions…they don’t cause alarm. They feel right, safe…comfortable.
Deceptively warm – what dangerous situations have you allowed yourself to become comfortable in? What turned off the alarms in your mind, your body? What silenced that fight or flight response to survive? Why so numb to the truth of the situation and ignorant of the damage it’s doing you?
Why? That’s the question I’m asking myself and you should ask yourself.
Why do I put myself in harm’s way and linger there oblivious to the fact that it’s hurting me. The facts are plain to see. The forecast is clear. No good can come of it. It makes no sense judge by how it feels when the facts scream for us to take steps to protect ourselves and remove ourselves from the deceptively warm situation.
As I type this, I do so with numb fingertips. Their blanched tips are once again pink. My toes, however, are still white and though quite cold to touch, feel comfortably, deceptively warm.
Why did I stand out in the cold, unprotected and exposed? I knew the danger of feeling deceptively warm.
Why did I remain in a situation hostile to life and limb and partake in action smacking of poor judgement and lack of forethought?
Four words reveal my state of mind: inapplicable, impervious, immune, invincible.
Why do you?