By Victoria Schmidt

“Aren’t They Cold?”

     It was -30° Fahrenheit in Minnesota the other night. I cried no tears at all when we were drenched with a surprise rainstorm in Chapala! So many of us came here because of the excellent climate. The climate is one of the major reasons we came here. A winter temperature in the 70s appealed to us.
     During our first winter in Lakeside we were constantly entertained by people who came up to my husband and I and asked “Aren’t you cold?” We would just laugh. In Minnesota, cold was anything under 20° Fahrenheit; we never would have dreamed that an evening in the upper 60’s could be considered cold! As we walked down the sidewalks, we actually chuckled at the Mexican’s in their down jackets and hoodies. If they think this was cold, they’d never survive in Minnesota we told ourselves. 
     I wore sleeveless dresses in December without giving it a second thought. And there were others like us. They were called the “snowbirds” having just arrived from their cold-weather climes; they traveled around in warm weather attire, while our Mexican neighbors most likely scratched their heads in amazement. I remember being completely perplexed when a woman who has lived here for 12 years told me “You just wait…it gets cold here in the wintertime.” 
     Minnesotans acted proud about their ability to tough out the winter months. (I got tired of that real quick.) Those of you who are, or were Minnesotans and others from more northern latitudes might recognize these signs of “Cold Weather Behavior” a friend emailed me: 
     If it is 60° above zero: Floridians turn on the heat. Minnesotans plant gardens.  At 50° above zero: Californians shiver uncontrollably while people are sunbathing in Duluth.  At 40° above zero: Import cars won’t start, but Minnesotans are driving with the sunroof open. At 32° above zero distilled water freezes. The water in Bemidji just gets thicker. When it is 20°above zero people in New Mexico don long johns, parkas, wool hats and mittens. Minnesotans on the other hand throw on a flannel shirt.
     When it drops to 15° above zero New York landlords finally turn on the heat, but the people in Minnesota have one last cookout before it gets cold. At Zero degrees, Minnesotans close the windows to keep out the cool draft while people in Florida move to Central America. When it reaches 10° below zero Californians fly away to Mexico, while Minnesotans dig their winter coats out of storage.
     At 25° below zero, Hollywood disintegrates. Girl Scouts in Minnesota are going door-to-door selling cookies. At 40° below zero Washington, D.C. finally runs out of hot air. While the folks in Minnesota decide maybe they could let their dogs sleep indoors. When it reaches 100° below zero Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. Minnesotans just get upset because the Mini-Van won’t start. At 460° below zero ALL atomic motion stops (absolute zero on the Kelvin scale.) People in Minnesota can be heard to say, “Cold ‘nuff fer ya?.”  At 500° below zero, Hell freezes over and Minnesota decides to delay the opening of schools by 2 hours.
     OK, some of these might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not many. They really do delay the start of school, usually at about -50° below zero. 
     And people actually wonder why those of us from the north wish to relocate to Mexico. And, after a time, we might, and I say might….start to acclimatize. Well, it’s winter again. And some of the snowbirds have returned in their short-sleeved outfits, and short pants. And I just put on my sweater and wonder “Aren’t they cold?”