Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Common Cold Weather Dilemma

Ah, fall. Isn’t just lovely? The trees explode in kaleidoscope colors. People pass by each other in their warm sweaters. Children dive with reckless, daredevil abandon headlong through mounds of leaves. The bite in the air invigorates, leaving rosy cheeks and noses…not to mention cold, cold apartments for the starving artist. And this is just the beginning. Winter is on its way, bringing with it sickeningly high utility bills which threaten to destroy your friendly neighborhood starving artist. Faced with the heating crunch, many starving artist are forced to take extreme measures: fire barrels, electric blankets, running back to mom’s house, and – most frightening of all – getting real jobs.

Unless, you are one of the lucky few who manage not to pay for utilities, you are most likely racking your frigid, artistic brain for ways to get warm and not pay for it. Well, I don’t have hard answers for you. Remember, this site offers nothing more than my observations as they occur. Hopefully later I can report my successes and failures. Until that time, I can offer nothing more than the untested strategies for defending yourself against the two headed hydra of cold and costs of heat.

1. Your Body Is A furnace
Your body produces heat. Really. It’s a veritable blast furnace. The only problem is your body is constantly radiating heat outward like a sucker, instead of hording that sweet, sweet warmth all for itself. The solution to this is simple: Insulation. Do you like sweaters? Do you like layers? How do you feel about wearing multiple pairs of socks at a time? It doesn’t matter how you feel about them, because you better get used to it. If you want to savor the body’s bounteous warmth, you will do it. I’m talking layers here, layers atop of layers with an extra layer thrown in for good measure. You may not be able to flex your arms, but you will be warm…relatively speaking. The same thing goes for your bed. Whatever blankets, comforters, sleeping bags, pets, and small children you have on hand goes on the bed on top of you. I’ve recently been sleeping under such an unwieldy mass of blankets, I can scarce roll over. To do so requires Herculean feats of desire and effort. Of course, I’ve simply adjusted to not rolling over.

2. Don’t Spend Time in Your Apartment
No use heating a place you’re not even present in. You’re time will be better spent out and about in warmer locals such as stores, malls, coffee shops, bars, friends places, and work. I don’t like my day job, but at least they heat the joint. That’s a good eight hours of avoiding hypothermia a day. Now all I need to do is find someplace else to spend the remaining time in the day: say going out or working on projects with friends. If everything goes well, the only time I spend in my apartment is ensconced under a mountain of comforters as I sleep. If I’m really lucky, friends will take pity on me and suggest, nay insists, I spend the night in their better heated homes. Remember, pity can be the starving artists most useful tool. Don’t be shy about using it. Just remember, you’re not just poor. You’re poor because you made a decision to dedicate yourself to your art. It’s more romantic and people occasionally want to be part of such romance. No matter how ridiculous this seems, it does work.

3. Migrate
If all else fails. Move to a warmer climate for the winter, like geese. Go somewhere where it does not matter if you can afford heat, because heat is free from Mother Nature. Even if you live on the street in Miami, it’s warmer than living in an unheated apartment in Pittsburgh. As a matter of fact, I think starving artist should migrate en masse annually. That way people will say, “There goes a group of pretentious underachieving think-rimmed bespectacled college graduates walking south, winter must be on its way.” The return of the twenty something to the studio apartment will then become the traditional sign of spring's approach.