The coldest man


Charlie Nadler grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and graduated from MVRHS with the class of 2002. He lives in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles where he works in the film and television industry and regularly performs stand up comedy.  In the twice-monthly “From Afar” column, Charlie will muse about the Island from his perch in LA

Your winter has been unfathomable. The colossal cold and suffocating snow should end soon — well, in theory anyway. You never know, this could be the next ice age. Summer might be a thing of the past, like the typewriter, a history lesson we pass down to our grandchildren around the nightly bonfire.

In Los Angeles this winter, the average temperature hovered mostly in the 60’s and 70’s, however I feel like I have suffered along with you in a different, weirder way.Living out here has made me so horribly soft that 50 degree evenings now feel like blizzards.

Where did I go wrong? Is there hope for me? Will I survive?

My problem is I have a reputation to uphold. I’m an East Coast kid. My blood’s supposed to be fierce. Wearing a jacket in Los Angeles is cheating and brings great shame to one’s family. But on the flip side, year-round sunshine is the crack cocaine of weather. All it takes is a few years of exposure for it to slowly destroy you from the inside out.

I think back on my coldest memory, and none of it involves any of the snow or ice I’ve conquered as a younger man in Oak Bluffs and Boston. No, my coldest memory was a few weeks back. The Cali temperature had dropped to an apocalyptic 39 degrees. I took out a coat, not just any coat but “the coat” that I keep way up top in the “East Coast area” of my closet. I wore the coat to my friend’s house, and as I passed rows upon rows of palm trees, the humiliation I experienced froze me to my core.

I worry I’m no longer physically cut out for Vineyard winters, so I did a little research on internal thermostats and how they are affected by climate. At first I was comforted to learn that the warmth or cold a person feels is tied less to the actual temperature and more to the perception of temperature. It turns out it’s the endless string of warm days that has caused the cold nights to disarm me spiritually. But then I realized what this meant; I am no longer MENTALLY cut out for Vineyard winters. Knowing what I know about my brain’s capacity to change and heal, I am now officially horrified.

I want to get better. I want to be like you.There should be a temperature rehab for people like me. Maybe the taxpayers can build a little 75 degree sun chamber for me deep in the woods of West Tisbury? I could spend 23 hours a day inside this artificial ecosystem, then brave 1 hour out in the “elements” and slowly ease my way back into the general island population.