Rehabilitating Fahrenheit

For most of my life, I lived in Florida. Sure, I was born in New Jersey, but my family moved South when I was roughly six weeks old. Aside from a few years in Germany and my more recent translocation to Virginia, all the rest of my days were lived in Florida.

It’s for this reason that my brain is broken in a really peculiar way. The only time I’ve ever lived in a place with actual winter, the metric system was in play. The result? I don’t really understand cold temperatures in Fahrenheit. When the temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, my brain short circuits and I have no frame of reference for what that feels like.

Unless you tell me it’s 16 degrees Celsius. Then I understand it completely.

Warm temperatures I completely get in Fahrenheit, but cold temps I only grok in Celsius. I have no idea how to dress for 32F, but I’m ready to go when it’s 0C outside. Intellectually I know it’s the exact same thing, but… my brain still doesn’t make that association.

Twelve degrees celcius on a sunny day is a gorgeous, perfect day in my brain, but if you tell me that it’s also 53F, I’m bound to think it’s colder than it really is.

As you might imagine, I spend a lot of time flipping the weather app on my phone between Fahrenheit and Celsius whenever I leave the apartment. I’m trying to forge new associations in my brain about what each of those numbers actually feels like. I think that in time, I can rehabilitate my brain to properly understand cold weather in Fahrenheit.

Which sounds nicer to you, 18C or 64F?



7 thoughts on “Rehabilitating Fahrenheit

  1. 18C definitely!
    We only use the Celsius scale unless you are not referring to the body temperature! If I am told that my temperature is 37C, my mind would be puzzled… cause I am feeling hot, but that’s such a freezing temperature for my body.

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  2. Fahrenheit confuses me. I totally understand single figures = cold, 10ºC and into the teens is mild, anything above 35 is too hot for me. And water freezing at 0 and boiling at 100 is fine – those sound likr sensible numbers. Then Fahrenheit comes along and tries to tell me a number in the 30s is cold. What?!

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  3. Robert

    18°C (I’m more the 25°C-guy)!

    Hardly surprising, but I was never able to make sense of Fahrenheit (also given the fact, that you can’t convert it easily…

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  4. Both are too cold, ha! My brain is off in a similar way. I only recognize cooking temperatures in C for whatever childhood reasons, and I’m constantly confused by internal temperature checks that are in F.

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