For 21 years, Juan Rivera has worked in a refrigerated room.
“Forty-five, forty-three degrees, all day,” said Rivera, 58, who works at Gourmet Kitchen, a food-preparer in Neptune.
Sure, the Asbury Park resident is used to the cold, but it does not mean he is used to the constant threat of snow and sub-freezing, sometime near-zero temperatures the recent weeks of winter have brought us.
“It’s terrible,” said Rivera, who finds himself spending more time indoors. “It just won’t let up.”
But Rivera, as with others, is grinning and bearing the winter.
“I’m hanging in there,” said Xavier Wesley, 49, of Asbury Park as he walked down the street in Allenhurst, wearing a hooded jacket in the approximately 20-degree temperature. “I dress (warm) and power right through.”
Wesley lives in an apartment, so he does not have to worry about the winter chores of snow-shoveling and treating ice. Nearby, George Monath’s was working outside, as a carpenter, on a house in Allenhurst.
“Freezing,” said Monath, 46, of Lacey. “Just tolerating it. Drinking hot coffee. I’m a little frozen, I’ve been waiting for this moment to get in the truck.”
Joe Oz, 35, who lives in the Wanamassa section of Ocean Township, was walking his dogs. Oz said he would “rather be on my bicycle, go into town, sit outside.”
“It’s a different lifestyle,” Oz said. “In the summertime, I’m out and about.”
And this time of year?
“We have a wood-burning stove, make a fire every night, try to stay positive,” Oz said.
A real estate agent for Keller Williams in Shrewsbury, Oz said his office is busy now.
But Oz said, “In the summer, spring, it’s fun to show houses when the sun’s out.”
Oz was to get a reprieve, though. He was to join his wife soon in Orange County, California, where she was visiting relatives.
Despite tolerating winter — what else can people do? — what are they saying about it?
“Mostly the people I heard from complain about the cold,” Wesley said. “If it was all the same, I would have spring and summer.”
On the other hand, Luke Nasty, 18, of Wall was not complaining. He was in Shark River Park, where he runs and takes a dip in a stream. But he adds to his bathing suit — “I swim with a T-shirt on,” he said.
“I started doing this about a year ago,” Nasty said. “I wanted to get in shape and handle the cold.”
At this point, it was about 25 degrees. But Nasty said he was planning to stay in the water for about 10 minutes.
“Not a long time,” he said, “but not (simply) ducking my head in.”
Gretchen Hayes of Neptune enjoys winter sports such as downhill skiing and snow-tubing.
“(But) if I’m not outside skiing or something like that, I want to be indoors,” said Hayes, 30, a nurse at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, and a flight nurse first lieutenant in the Air National Guard 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron out of Delaware. “Usually during the winter, I tend to stay in more. I work more.”
How much more of this wintry weather can Rivera take?
“Maybe another two weeks and (then) I’m through,” he said.
Because even though Rivera is used to the cold, “I still hate it.”