As a kid growing up in Montreal, I sorta got used to freezing my ass off in winter. Of course when you are younger, you don’t really realize it… or care for that matter. As a teenager you have to show how tough you are so you never wear a hat, don’t lace up your flight boots, and keep your jacket unbuttoned. And gloves? Fuck em! That phase only lasted until my 18th year. That’s when I went out one January afternoon and walked over to my friend Harvey’s which was a 20 minute walk. It was -10° F, and there was a 20 mile an hour wind blowing but I didn’t care. I was a tough teenager who thought he knew it all. (Over the years I have found out quite gradually, how little I really know. Its fascinating!) It was cold but I could “handle it” so off I went. When I arrived, his sister Julianne opened the door and blurted out, “David, what happened to your ear? Its white!” I reached up and touched it and it was frozen stiff. It took about 10 minutes to thaw out and after that, whenever the temperature was below freezing, my ear would sting like hell unless I wore a hat.
Over the next few years I started becoming more adverse to winter with age and started wearing sweaters, buttoning my coat, wearing gloves and of course a hat. At some point that was not enough. Winter became just as exciting as a trip to the dentist. I began to hate it with a passion. Slush in Montreal made the temperature damp. My toes were always cold. Sitting in a restaurant there was always a draft. Even having a car didn’t help because it took time to warm up and I always had to shovel it out after a snowfall.
I moved to Vermont as I like to say for “the warmer climate”. It actually was warmer… by about an average of 5° but after a few years it didn’t seem really different. I still froze, and my toes were still cold.
When I was 45, I went to Florida for the first time and met my present wife Sharon. We were both from Montreal and we both drove our parent’s cars down south for them. (An old middle-class Jewish custom) We were both broke so for the first few years of our marriage, that was our annual vacation. Every November and April… her in her mother’s car and myself in my father’s car following each other down/up I95. It was worth it though, because I fell in love with that hot wind, on a winter night as we walk down the street with the smell of Jasmine in the warm aire. After a few years we eventually settled on one car. We found someone else to drive my father’s.
As time went on, we became a bit more affluent and started going down on our own—this time in winter when it was cold. As things got better we would do it twice, and eventually three times a year. It was nice, but we both hated coming back north and so about seven years ago after figuring out how to make our business portable, we bought a place here. It’s really funny but for most of my life, I always thought that people who were doing the same thing were schmucks. I saw it as typical “follow-the-herd” mentality. I never really wanted to identify with them. As I said at the beginning, I didn’t know very much when I was younger. You grow up, and as a teenager, acquire prejudices that you stick with for most of your life until you smarten up or other things happen to change your mind. This is what we call “coming of age.” In my case it took a while.
So, why the picture? Because it was taken yesterday on the beach here in Florida when it was a balmy 82°. As I said, you have to adapt and change. In this case it was not about being able to afford it—it was about changing one’s view on things, figuring out how to make it work, and I am the better off for it.
A very happy new year to everybody.