February 17, 2014

Weather preferences are subjective

Are any of you tired of the cold temperatures yet?

At our January master gardener volunteer meeting, we took an informal poll about weather preferences. 

The question was, “Given the choice, would your preference be 90-degree, humid, sticky weather, or below-zero, snowy, icy weather?”

It came as no surprise to me that the majority, almost two-thirds, prefer the cold weather to the hot.

As we bantered about the pros and cons of each weather condition, the reasons for the preferences seemed almost as opposite as the preferences themselves.

The master gardeners who preferred hot and humid to cold and icy miss working outside in the garden during the winter. The days are shorter, with less light. They miss the colors, scents and sounds of summer.

The master gardeners who prefer cold and icy enjoy having the time usually spent in the garden to relax with a book and visit with friends, and are grateful that there are no mosquitos around.

For all of us, our choice is based partly on comfort. Some folks find the extreme cold almost unbearable and others feel the same way about high humidity and heat. 

Being able to alter the indoor temperatures with either air conditioning or heat didn’t seem to have much to do with the choices — except in the case of those who wanted to curl up by the fire while relaxing with a book. That’s much more appealing in the winter than in the heat of summer.

As I think more about it, I wonder if our preference is based more on what we miss being able to do than it is on the temperatures we find comfortable. If your favorite activities are things like gardening, sailing and barbecuing in the backyard with family and friends, winter may be a four-month-long downer for you regardless of the temperature. If you prefer winter sports and fireplaces and enjoy soups, stews and other “cold weather” foods to barbecuing, summer may seem to last forever.

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