Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Solstice

About twelve hours ago was winter solstice, or the moment of the year when the northern hemisphere is at its maximum tilt away from the sun. This means the days will get longer and longer from now until the summer solstice (at 5:26 am on June 21). A poem:

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"Solstice"

I am hibernating.
I am so cold that I can't run, not even to a warm place. So cold I can't get out of bed to get another blanket. I can't remove my shirt to put on a warmer one. I can't leave the house to go to a house with a fireplace. I can't stand under the cold water and wait for it to turn hot. My roommate is a cheapskate and keeps turning the thermostat down to 60.
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Ha! You thought it would be about the timelessness of space and rotation of planets or about the changing seasons and fleeting nature of existence itself. But it was just about being cold.

If the days are getting longer now, why doesn't it start getting warmer until after February? I have thought about this. Perhaps a little demonstration.

So you are sitting in a bathtub full of tepid water and I walk right in without knocking. To keep things simple, let's just assume you are fully clothed, for whatever reason. Hey, if you want to bathe in your clothes that's your own business. I don't want to know anything about it.

So you and I begin a conversation that you would deem rather ordinary except for the fact that I am dropping an ice cube into your tub every ten seconds. We continue discussing the weather, movies, school, and work (but not politics, religion, or art of course) until your teeth are chattering. I notice and say: "Oh, I'm sorry. Is this making you cold? I am out of ice anyway." Then I turn around and walk out leaving you alone in a pool of ice water. It will take you quite a while to warm up again, don't you think?

10 comments:

jeremy said...

So is the ice cubes the relative coldness of the Earth? Or is it all in our minds - it takes as long to get warm as it took to get cold, but since it's been cold, it seems slower getting warmer than it took for it to cool down, since we were coming from the summer. I guess the question is if we could cut the year in half at the solstices, would the average temperature be a reflection of itself? Hmmm, this sounds like a question for How Stuff Works . Of course, if you're bathing fully clothed, you might have bigger things to be concerned with. Or SHOULD have. And now to type in my word verification. Let's see - vvfwko. Or is it wfwko?

An American Schmuck in London said...

Nice analogy but there are plot holes. This person taking a bath in their clothes (don't even get me started on that one) is cold because the sun is far away correct? Well what you need to insert in your analogy is a powerful sun lamp capable of emitting a heat approximately 27 million degrees Farenheit. Make this sun lamp 109 times larger than the tub and place it at a distance of 92 million miles. Perhaps you could make your main character (you) an astronaut with a super secret rocket ship with lightspeed capability so he can go place the lamp. But make sure he wears his astronaut suit when he does this... it's a hot lamp! Have him go back to Earth and tilt the tub (without dumping clothed baths man) so that the solar rays it recieves from the sun lamp reach it at an indirect angle. Then throw an ice cube in the tub. Slowly rotate the tub at a constant pace back to a perpendicular angle with the sun lamp's rays, making sure you go slowly enough that the rays will be perfectly centered on exactly the date of June 21. Now, your analogy will be getting somewhere although it still has it's share of plot holes. Who is going lay in a tub while some guy throws ice cubes into it? FULLY CLOTHED?

T.R. said...

you guys need to back up from the metaphor a little. it gets ruined if you get too close to it, sort of like one those magic eye pictures.

actually i did try the whole bathtub in space thing. it was a more effective metaphor but space helmets always make my hair look stupid (helmet hair).

Awesome said...

I think the real answer is this:

Arizona winter.

T.R. said...

Ha! very funny, awesome. Nice try. There's no such thing as arizona winter.

Michelle 2021 said...

What about northern AZ? I almost slid off the road in Flagstaff in November. (And off I scuttle back into my "who asked you? you've totally missed the point" cave)

Spencer said...

Look, a comment from some kid you know from choir, that has absolutely nothing to do with the post to which it is attached!

It's not particularly cold here in San Francisco. Oh crap, I just made the comment ever-so-slightly topical!

rands said...

ok so i work at barnes and noble and a guy came in today that i thouht was you. I got so excited and was about to be like "TR!!" and then i remembered i wasnt in utah....and it couldnt have been you. Biggest let down of my life, let me tell you.

jackie smaz said...

I would be bugged if someone left me freezing in a tub of ice water. That would be really lame of you, or winter. I'm pretty cold right now. It's cold in the Poor Man's Mansion. It's always cold. And when I sleep my head gets really cold. Well, as the old adage goes, "old house, cold house", right?... you know, the old adage... you know that one...

T.R. said...

let's see, adage.....


Yes! That's it. Wear a hat. Nightcaps are not just highly fashionable, they're also highly warm. Also, in a recent study, nightcaps have been shown to prevent the landing of unwanted birds.