One of the extraordinary things about life is the sort of places it’s prepared to put up with living. Anywhere it can get some kind of a grip, whether it’s the intoxicating seas of Santraginous V, where the fish never seem to care whatever the heck kind of direction they’re swimming, the firestorms of Frastra, where, they say, life begins at 40,000 degrees, or just burrowing around in the lower intestine of a rat for the sheer unadulterated hell of it, life will always find a way of hanging on in somewhere.
It will even live in New York, though it’s hard to know why. In the wintertime the temperature falls well below the legal minimum, or rather it would do if anybody had the common sense to set a legal minimum. The last time anybody made a list of the top hundred character attributes of New Yorkers, “common sense” snuck in at number 79.
In the summer it’s too darn hot. It’s one thing to be the sort of life form that thrives on heat and finds, as the Frastrans do, that the temperature range between 40,000 and 40,004 is very equable, but it’s quite another to be the sort of animal that has to wrap itself up in other animals at one point in your planet’s orbit, and then find, half an orbit later, that your skin’s bubbling.
Spring is overrated. A lot of the inhabitants of New York will honk on mightily about the pleasures of spring, but if they actually knew the first thing about the pleasures of spring they would know at least 5,983 better places to spend it than New York, and that’s just on the same latitude.
Fall, though, is the worst. Few things are worse than fall in New York. Some of the things that live in the lower intestines of rats would disagree, but most of the things that live in the lower intestines of rats are highly disagreeable anyway, so their opinion can and should be discounted. When it’s fall in New York, the air smells as if someone’s been frying goats in it, and if you’re keen to breathe, the best plan is to open a window and stick your head in a building.
from Mostly Harmless, by Douglas Adams