Sunday, February 26, 2012

View From The Top...

Gentle Reader, I am a very serious person.  
I have no sense of humor, generally refrain from all silliness, walk with perfect posture, have deeply profound thoughts, and hold highly intelligible and intellectual conversation edged with a raw whit and criticism, all of which leaves people quite in awe of my obvious genius and voyeurism.  (And here I hope that the lack of linguistic inflection does not diminish the sarcasm of the former sentences.)  
In all seriousness though, I must beg you to believe that I am not quite so dopey and irrelevant as the last months have made me out to be.  Poor Ryan, who has been stuck with me every waking hour, has witnessed my rapid decent into this inane mien and it's a daily, vicious, cycle.  
Each morning, as we map out our day's route, I am as stoic of character as ever I was, but, as soon as we step out into the cold, my brain seems to shut down, leaving room but for a single though: I'm cold, I'm cold, I'm cold.  In an effort to distract myself, I attempt idle conversation, but my tongue becomes so heavy in my mouth that it cannot form proper sounds, and my brain can only produce a series of tones that could only be compared to a dying pigeon.  
Ryan, ever the gentleman, nods politely, and lends me his mittens.

All of this happens on a good day.

After leaving Paris mid-January, the plan was to head south until the weather improved and we could visit Eastern and Northern Europe more comfortably.  We had a false-spring in Barcelona, and the sun taunted us for several days in Madrid.  Rome was chilly too, but nothing, nothing compared to the cloudy morning we spend climbing the Acropolis in Athens.
Greece was the furthest South we'd been in ages, and I naively assumed we'd finally find the sun.

So, good days are mindless babbling.  But bad days are no talking at all.

I honestly can't remember what exactly happened this morning in Athens.  Photographic evidence suggests I made it to the top of the Parthenon, and even had the wherewithal to use the fake "lens tilt" setting I'd accidentally discovered on my camera when we stopped to watch the sunset from the Spanish Steps in Rome. But no memory of the place exists until I found myself staring into a mirror in the bathroom of a restaurant, hands crumpled under the faucet of hot water.
This, I can only assume, was a result of hypothermia, and marks my first out-of-water case of this affliction.  Naturally, when I warmed back up to "babbling cold", I felt the need to yabber on at length about this to my nurse (aka my mom) via skype.

This is the worst winter Europe has seen since last year, and when I can manage such an altruistic thought, my heart goes out to all the homeless people dying out in the cold. 
But this doesn't happen very often as I am usually to wrapped up in my own well being to take notice of the plight of others and I'm cold, I'm cold, I'm cold.