I'm not going to lie to you: I'm here to start some shit. And not just some penny-ante shit, either, I'm looking to throw down the gauntlet in front of one of the most unassailable icons of our culture: Big Blanket. Because I'm saying — as the rain drums outside my window on this cold, cold night — the coziest thing in the world is a warm car in the rain.
The noises you're likely hearing now are grannies and puppies and footie-pajama'd, Snuggle-draped comfortophiles all over the nation rising up en masse, screaming "What the FUCK?" and flinging tea sets and fat calico cats and laptops into walls. And I don't care. Because I know I'm right.
Just stay with me here, if you can. I'm not saying being warm on a couch in the winter with a nice big blanket and a dog or cat isn't deeply, profoundly cozy — it sure as fuck is — but that I believe that for maximum cozification you simply can't beat the feeling of entering a toasty warm car as you escape a cold, driving rain.
I can totally back up my reasoning for this. Cozy, you see, is a condition defined by contrast above all else. You can't be cozy in a blanket on a couch or in a bed when it's sunny and 85° outside. It just doesn't work. Cozy as a concept can only exist in direct contrast to a counter set of environmental conditions — snow outside, rain against the window, bitter cold just beyond the walls of the house while you, bundled up with your cocoa, form the counterpoint that wills raw coziness into being.
So, if we accept that cozy requires contrast, and the intensity of those contrasts ratchets up the coziness factor directly, then the direct contact of a warm car to the bitter, inclement weather needed for cozification makes for a vastly higher grade of cozy.
There's other factors, too: a small space is always more cozy than a large one. Picture a little cabin vs. a warehouse. Which is cozier? The ability to see the unpleasantness outside to contrast with the warm, dreamy dryness inside — that's crucial as well. Are you really that cozy in a windowless, climate-controlled room? No, you're not, no matter how many blankies you pile on yourself.
If we break all this into a formula, you can see how incredibly well a warm car does: C is the coziness constant, V is the volume of the enclosing space away from the weather, OT is outside temperature, IT is inside temperature, m is exterior moisture index (in humidity %), w is the relative window area to view the awful weather (in rough percentage of wall area), giving a formula to calculate C as:
A blanket can't come close to making the Coziness Index numbers a warm car can. Besides, a blanket — or for that matter, a Snuggie, or a couch, or a bed, or almost any of the usual claimants to the cozy throne — all rely on crucial other objects and structures to maintain any cozy index at all.
Sure, a big warm bed on a rainy night is cozy, but only by virtue of the entire house that surrounds it. Take that house away, and you've got a bed in the rain, which has a massive negative cozy index. Would anything suck worse than being stuck on a bed out in the rain?
A car needs no outside help. Any car with a functioning roof and heater can go in any sort of horrible weather and create its own cozy environment within. And it doesn't even need to be that luxurious. I've run into cabs of work trucks to escape freezing, driving rain, and that cab, with its cheap vinyl seats, AM radio, and metal dash were, at that moment, cozier than any bullshit quilt on some stupid love seat.
A heated car can be the only island of warmth and dry for miles and miles around, in the blackest of nights, calling you with the warm amber glow of a set of parking lights and the soothing, rhythmic flick-flick of the wipers. Sitting inside that little, well-window'd bubble, watching the water streak down the glass, hands feeling the warm breath of the heater from the vents, is about as cozy as human can stand.
You can even add blankets and warm mugs of cocoa or coffee or soup to the equation, because part of why the Car is the Cosiest is that it can work with all lesser cozy-amplifying tools.
So, face it, you blankie-draped fuzz-addled warmth-suckers: you've been beaten. There can only be one Queen of Cozy, and her name is Automa Biel, long may she reign.