Friday, February 25, 2011

45 Degrees of Cool

Following up on my earlier post about sleeping in a cold room, I don't want to give the impression that I've somehow built up superhuman tolerance to cold. There are limits.

Yesterday, Bruce Miller and I met at O'Kane's to play our weekly game of chess, smoke cigars, sip something alcoholic (single malt for Mr. Miller, their house pinot for me), crack knock-knock jokes, and complain about the miserable Dead music.

They open at 4, and that's when we get there so we can score the table next to the wood stove. It's the only source of heat for the place. When we sat down, lit our cigars and set up the pieces, the place was 45 degrees. (This according to my Harbor Freight IR thermometer which I'm carrying around these days to see where Bend restaurants and other establishments keep the thermostat set.)

The fellow that opened the place could not get the fire started in the wood stove. He had chunks of wood and newspaper, and one could coax a fire into life without kindling if one builds his fire carefully, but his fire-building skills were lacking.

McMenamin's generally provides firestarters, but they were out. So no fire was happening. He struggled with the thing for about 20 minutes. Other men stood around, offering advice. But no go. The place was going to stay at 45 for the duration.

Mr. Miller and I decided that playing chess with cold-numbed fingers was not going to be pleasant, so we declared a draw and decided to leave in search of someplace warmer. The bartender comped us our drinks, I tipped him nicely for the effort and courtesy.

"I was brought up without a father figure," he muttered. Fathers being, of course, the source of the manlier arts, like reloading rounds, handling bullies, dressing deer, knot-tying, advice about dating, fishing, and, among a myriad of other butch skills, building fires.

He looked embarrassed. I got momentarily nosy and asked whether this was something that made him feel inadequate. He said it was.

I hope he got it sorted out.

1 comment:

  1. My father didn't teach me to build fires, but I learned anyway. I think that bartender was offering a lame-ass excuse.

    A Central Oregonian not knowing how to build a fire in a wood stove -- disgraceful!

    ReplyDelete

 
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