The summer I was pregnant with my first child in New York, there were 40 days over 90 degrees. I didn’t leave the house except to go to work, and I felt absolutely terrible all the time, even while standing directly in front of the air conditioner.
Meanwhile, some of my friends were happily prancing around in the heat, hitting the clubs, the beaches of Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove and the Hamptons, having a grand old time. This is when I started promulgating a theory that each of us has an individual temperature and a climate where we feel our best, and that it all comes down to genes.
I have my Manhattan doctor, Dr. Sharon Lewin, to thank for this.
One horrendously hot day, I staggered into her office feeling absolutely awful. No wonder: I was badly dehydrated with a blood pressure of 60 over 40.
She immediately got me a glass of water and told me that I must go to the nearest bodega over on Amsterdam and buy several packages of potato chips to get some salt into me. Then she asked me where I–or my family–was from. I told her: both parents from the same village in the north of England.
She smiled and rendered her diagnosis: I had lousy genes for heat. If I were like her, she said, someone whose family had been chased all over Europe through the various pogroms, intermarrying with the local populations, I would have been able to withstand the climatic vicissitudes. Unlike most countries in the world, England hasn’t been invaded by foreign people for over 1,000 years since the French in 1066; hence my deficiency in terms of lacking an admixture of genes, and a resulting deficiency in my ability to weather the American summer. And that’s when I realized my ideal weather: 57 degrees and drizzle.
The fact is, I feel marvellous when it’s 57 degrees, and happy to be alive. I have my peak energy at that temperature, and it’s even better when there’s a drizzle which puts moisture in the air and gives me nice pink cheeks.
My kids and my partner, all with a wide mixture of genes, do well in the heat. My mother, my father, my aunts and uncles, and my grandparents, do and did not. I do not do well in American summers, and so I do everything I can to spend the hottest weeks of the summer in England.
On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve just had a pretty blissful winter here in Cambridge. It snowed only once, a decorative amount, and was otherwise quite balmy, very different to the often harsh New England winters. Spring is now here, and I feel that I haven’t done the requisite amount of suffering, not that I’m in any way advocating months and months of snow, ice, freezing cold, and digging out the car five times in one day, which I have done, in order to appreciate the joys of spring.
Where are you (and your family) from, and in what temperature and climate do you feel your best? Any other 57 degrees and drizzle folks out there?