It has come to our attention that it is hot. Really hot. How does one make him or herself otherwise? How does one become, internally and externally, through and through, back-to-front-and-front-to-back cold?
Cold is not just a matter of having resources, like an air conditioning unit or a refrigerator to open and stick your head in, or an office that has both of those things. Cold is an attitude, that devil-may-care ease with which you fling a sleeveless cardigan around your neck (because sleeves make things hot) and it falls off your back and down to the floor because there are no sleeves on that cardigan (who makes a cardigan without sleeves?), but you casually strut away without looking back because you are cold. It's a mindset. An of-the-moment fashion. A way of life. Cold is...cold. You might have rivulets of sweat running down your body, trickling into crevices you weren't formerly aware of; you might be mopping wetness from your face with bar napkins as you move slowly through what appears to be the ninth circle of hell; you might be wondering, did I actually forget deodorant today of all days? In a heat wave? Have I lost my mind? Fear not, you can live through all of this and still be cold. Cold is from the inside. External forces help, too, but you can make it happen with force of will and the power of your own brain. This is what Sting does.
How do you be it, then? Are you sitting down? Sitting down helps in matters in coldness. Standing is hot, sitting is cool. Movement while standing is OK, but only in pursuit of getting to a colder place. So, sit. OK.
Now, are you drinking something? Something wet with ice cubes, or, if no ice cubes are handy because they've all melted, are you drinking something that is below the temperature of the street or farmland or random suburbia outside, where it smells oddly of fish and 100 people who have also forgotten their deodorant swipe on this of all foul days, or perhaps if you are lucky, like burnt popcorn or hot grass? Good. Drink again.
Next. Are you indoors? If you're not indoors, you're truly testing the limits of cold, and we are impressed. Perhaps you are one of the rare types who is so cold you don't even need to be inside in order to be one with chill. Perhaps you're outside, lying on a beach, enjoying a chill spray of ocean water wafting across your scantily swimsuit clad form. Perhaps you're dashing through a sprinkler (careful with the laptop!), shrieking about how it's soooo cold. Perhaps you're just outside, in the middle of a hot, sun-baked park, sweating like you've never sweat before but dreaming of ice castles and that time they let you into the vodka tasting vault at that casino, that room that was kept so cold that they dressed you in a Ushanka hat and fur coat before letting you in. Wow, that was cold! Really quite chilly. If you are this person you don't really need our help to be cold, you already are.
But if you're like most of us, to be mentally cold you should be indoors. If you're in private, you may want to remove all extraneous clothing. If you're in public, or in an office environment, keep your stuff on. Turn on your air conditioner. Turn it lower. Give it another quarter turn to the right. Are you in spin class or are you in spin class? Don't go to spin class, it's too hot. Stay in the part of the gym with the ellipticals, and take a couple steps and then go lie on the floor over by the weights on a towel that you've soaked in the water fountain. Put another wet towel on top of your face to prevent gym-goers from giving you the evil eye. Who are they to judge a cold person? You are cold. So cold. Resist the urge to shiver or to request some hot tea at the deli. You can get through this. You're doing it!
To remind yourself of how cold you are, read a bunch of cold words: algid, arctic, bitter, bone-chilling, chill, chilly, coldish, cool, coolish, freezing, frigid, frosty, gelid, glacial, ice-cold, icy, nipping, nippy, numbing, polar, shivery, snappy, wintry (also wintery). Consider starting a band called Bone-Chilling Gelid; discard the idea as you'd be stuck playing the keyboards and that would make your hands sweat, which would ruin the whole idea. Stop thinking about that.
Think about cold: Igloos. Baby penguins just learning to walk. The sound of trickling ice-cold streams. The sound of refilling your Britta. Ice-fishing holes in the Old Mill Pond in the middle of winter. Scraping ice off your car's frozen windshield. Skiing in the Alps, or in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Vanilla Whats-His-Name, whispering in your ear! The chill that goes down your back when someone plays with your hair. Brain freeze from eating your ice cream too quickly. The time that mean girl totally ignored you in high school. The negative windchill ripping through your woolen peacoat as you hunch your way toward the subway in February. Getting trapped in a meat locker like in that episode of the Brady Bunch. Putting hot potatoes in your pockets on the way to school to keep your hands from freezing. The sound your refrigerator makes, a chilly groan from within. The time you put your tongue up against the basketball pole in the elementary school playground and then the bell rang and you were stuck out there the whole recess until finally the gym teacher came to rescue you. Being stranded in your car in Alaska with only frozen Coors Light to keep you company. Making snow angels, forever. Perusing scenic vistas from the tops of frost-covered mountains, your hands shaking as you attempt to hold the camera, which has frozen to your fingers. When the delivery guy takes too long and the soup is only lukewarm.
Get in the shower. Turn the water as cold as it goes. Let it wash over you, wash your hot, bodily sins down the drain, let it immerse you in the cold, cold beingness of cold. Lie on your bed under a bunch of fans without drying off, ice cubes scattered about for decency. Empty your brain of everything but the chilliest, chilliest blue, the waters of the North Sea, Kate Winslet reaching for Leonardo Di Caprio's hand in that sad movie where the boat sinks and one headboard isn't enough to hold both of them. Watch his frozen hand fall away from hers as his body plummets deep into the ocean and sinks along with the diamonds of so many passengers. Think of how wealth really saves no one, at the end of it all, all we have is ourselves, our brains and gumption and our will to survive, our bloodless blue arm frozen to a headboard upon which the woman we love still breathes, though she's barely conscious given the freezing conditions. And yet, if you sank to the bottom of that ocean, you'd probably be chillier than that street outside right now. Perspective is everything. Shiver. Are you cold?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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