Army Mythology Item #10293: It’s 70 Degrees Outside but It Feels Cold Because We’re Used to the 187 Degree Heat of Iraq
Acclimation to certain temperature ranges is a well known phenomenon; a prime example of this is the t-shirts and squeals of jubilation that accompany the first 40-degree day after a long Minnesota winter. However, there are certain physical effects associated with various air temperatures that occur regardless of one’s acclimation status. Using the previous example, one can still die of hypothermia when it’s 40 degrees out, even if you’re Jason Schneider and can withstand ridiculously low temperatures while basically naked.
The weather here has been cool lately – barely 80 during the day and easily in the low 50’s at night. (And it might get down into the 30’s this week!) This much you can discover by visiting the Weather Channel’s website, just so you know I’m not making this up.
The other night El Capitan walks up to my site, her hands bunched up in her sleeves like a little girl, and exclaims, “I can’t believe how cold it feels even though it’s like 60 or 70!” If she hadn’t been a commissioned officer in the United States Army I might’ve slapped her. And you call yourself a Minnesotan!
I was content to let that one slide, though – she must’ve been tired – until my relief showed up the next morning. He was putting on a pair of gloves; I remarked on the cold temperature, and he responded with, “…but it’s 68 degrees!” I just gaped. I could see my breath, fercrissakes! I asked him how he knew this and he responded – with a straight face – “That’s what my watch says.” OK Paul Douglas, let’s ignore the fact that your watch is against your skin and inside your sleeve and assume that it’s a perfectly accurate piece of meterological equipment. Does a 68-degree temperature even pass the common-sense test?
As mentioned before, my breath was clearly visible – not exactly a hallmark of comfortable 70-degree weather. Putting a hand on the side of my truck was much like touching a sheet of of ice – also unusual for what most would call “room temperature.” And after only ten minutes of senseless PMCS on my truck that’s not going to be driven for most of a year, my fingers were cold and stiff. Unless I spontaneously developed crippling arthritis, I think it was a little cooler than 70 degrees out there.
Use your heads, people! I don’t care how acclimated to 187-degree weather you are – you just don’t see your breath at 70 degrees! Steel doesn’t feel like ice at 70 degrees! Your hands don’t go numb at 70 degrees!