Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Cold Heat

Today was a gift of a day, work wise. My assignment was to drive to a distant county to collect plant and soils data at two wetlands along a dirt road. The wetlands had already been flagged, but somehow the data never got collected. I wouldn't need four-wheel drive, so didn't have to bother with the muss and fuss of a rental car. Driving there and back would take the better part of the day, so I could leave right from the house, and wouldn't have to report to the office at all.

The day didn't turn out exactly the way I'd planned, mostly because of the rain. It poured on most of my drive, which hampered my leaf peeping quite a bit and prevented me from dawdling with scenic roadside photo shooting. The rain let up long enough for me to use my field sheets instead of my almost full Rite-in-the-Rain notebook, and I didn't get soaked, which was nice, since I'd neglected to bring rain gear. The odd thing is that SodaBoy reports that it didn't rain here all day.

Unexpected rain, or no, I still love me a field day, especially a solo field day, since it is such a rarity with this job. I could listen to NPR on my car radio, and when I lost reception to the universal backwoods selection of country or Christian, switch to Radiohead CDs, and sing along at a ridiculous volume and pitch. No birdseed: I could eat a reasonable lunch whenever I chose. And I could control my own oxygen intake.

I hate automobile heaters. There, I said it! Shocking, I know. I will use the heater in my car, when absolutely necessary, to defrost the windshield, and then I'll shut it off again. [Full disclosure: I usually have a window cracked.] I live in a climate with pronounced winters, but hell. I wear a coat, why does the heat need to be cranked? Car heat smells bad, and makes me faintly nauseous. I feel as though I am suffocating, and get a little panicky.

Aside from the differences in eating preferences, this is another issue that can cause conflict within field crews. Some people actually like a hot, stuffy vehicle. A like-minded coworker of mine and I almost suffocated in the back seat of a crew cab pickup two weeks ago. The windows couldn't be down, because that was too noisy for the cell phone yakkers, and the air couldn't be on, because BossLady was cold. It actually eased my pain a little bit to see my co-worker in similar throes of agony. Then at least I didn't feel so crazy.

I have been in possession of this particular quirk my entire life. My parents report that as a toddler, I would grow cross when the heat was used in the vehicle, and demand "the cold heat" instead. The cold heat was just the vent, as we never had a car with AC.

Well, I ran the cold heat all through my rainy drive today. It was delightful.

9 comments:

purpleteardropsofhappilymarriedness said...

Hah, well I don't really like car heaters - I too feel like I'm being suffocated especially in the front seat (a quirk of my own is that I wont sit in the front seat of a car, you can partially blame driver's ed for that) and I roll down the window a bit even when its freezing to get some "clean" air. It surrounds me and makes me feel like I'm being choked by a stifling warm blanket of invisible wool

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I feel EXACTLY the same way, though I do use some heat occasionally, I ALWAYS have the window open and I used to catch so much flack from apartment mates that rode with me to college 45 minutes away--they complained bitterly, but since it was my car and I was driving, I got my way.

The tables are turned now. I usually ride with Biker Buddy who for some reason thinks we should be stiflingly hot and suffocating at all times. I often wish we could take separate cars. Luckily, when the weather is good, we usually ride motorcycles and get lots of fresh air and I get to set the pace. Then I can dress for my own comfort.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

As far as the food goes, proper food is essential. Grazing on snack foods is stupid and unhealthy.

Nadine said...

I understand the lack of oxygen, which does sometimes creep up on me unexpectedly, but I can't stand to be cold.

Electronic Goose said...

"Cold heat," that's adorable. I don't like the car heater either.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Hey I know you're busy and prolly have more important things to do, but if you ever get a chance, I tagged you for a meme here:

http://nopolar.blogspot.com/2007/10/desktop-meme.html

be cool if you could include soda boy on this one. If he's willing and you have time.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Desktop Meme

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Ah the cold heat, it becomes more and more of a problem as it gets colder outside. More and more people, Biker Buddy among them, seem to prefer it to be hot and stuffy rather than cool and clean.

Katrina said...

Cold Heat products are nice...