When it comes to cold weather, there are two kinds. There is the kind of cold weather you snow ski in and there is the kind of cold weather you attempt to avoid by staying inside. That is the long and short of the standards and expectations I’ve set for myself in managing the cold. I’m not apologizing to anyone including the General that I have twelve coats hanging in my closet. I don’t like to be cold.
I won’t say that the General and I got into a squabble over it, but she intuitively thought about the starving children in third world countries who need food and suitable clothing. I couldn’t argue with her logic. She is of the mindset that there probably are at least ten men in Dripping Springs that could benefit from one of my jackets. Who knows, she may think I’m cold hearted, but sometimes a jacket adds extra protection against discomfort and I’m not yet feeling guilty that I’ve got variety. Most of my “coats” are really lightweight jackets, but sometimes you need a little something extra to turn the cold.
A couple of years ago I bought a really nice heavy leather jacket. I tried it on in the store. It fit perfectly and I thought it was a good look. Truthfully, I haven’t worn the coat since. I noticed the other day when I moved my coats out of the entry hall closet after the General complained that the closet was too crowded, that the price tag is still on the sleeve. I could wear it outdoors for all sorts of things except that rule one in managing the cold is to stay indoors unless I’m going snow skiing. I once ruined the looks of a really nice leather sports coat when I got caught outside in the rain. Consequently, the new coat is reserved for something other than snow skiing.
Yesterday morning when I headed for the barbershop, I opted to put on a light jacket. The weather really wasn’t that cold, but the wind was blowing. When I went out to the car to get my coffee mug to fill it up for the commute into town, it felt damp and nippy outside. Nippy means borderline cold and I don’t like that feeling either.
It was cool inside the car, but I didn’t opt to turn on the seat warmer. I reserve that for really cold weather. Consequently, I haven’t reached the definition of a total wimp yet. I got to the barbershop early, but my barber already had someone else in his barber’s chair. Consequently, I hung up my jacket and waited. I noticed that subsequent patrons were also wisely wearing light jackets. There was only one exception. A man and his son came in together for haircuts. The little boy looked about the age of my youngest grandson. The little boy was not wearing a jacket.
Seeing him reminded me of a mother and child I saw in downtown Austin on Thursday. The mother was pushing her son in a small stroller down the sidewalk. Thursday met my definition of cool as well. Neither the mother nor her little boy was wearing a jacket of any kind. The little boy looked maybe eight or nine months old. I had the thought that the little boy had to be cold.
Of course, when it comes to weather everyone has there own definition of cold. There are a couple of winter Texans that attend our church. One man and his wife are from Montana. They’ve sought refuge from the cold of that state for the past six or seven years. The other couple is from Minnesota.The frame of reference for both of these couples related to the weather is very different from mine.
Garrison KeilIor, a well known author and story teller expresses it like this: “I live in Minnesota, which is unjustly famous for miserable winters. Buffalo is far more wintry, whereas Seattle can bestow a purer, deeper misery than Minnesota has available. Our winters tend to be brilliantly sunny, cheerful, and aesthetically stunning. The tree branches glitter like diamonds, the glazed snowdrifts glow from below … but, of course, it’s different for a visitor. If you flew into St. Paul in January from Boca Raton to, say, scatter Aunt Bertha’s ashes after her tragic death in the jaws of an alligator, you would need to take precautions.
Lightweight thermal wear is good. Back in the day, we wore layers and layers of heavy woolens and kept warm by the exertion of carrying it. A boy of 13 hauling 35 pounds of wet wool on his back does not feel chilly. Today you can buy outfits filled with gosling feathers as well as thermal boots and caps to keep you toasty warm. But you know this”.
Yesterday the General and I went to lunch at Trudy’s. The restaurant wasn’t that crowded and the room temperature felt a little cool. I mentioned to the waiter that we had anticipated a table next to the fireplace. Of course, they don’t have a fireplace. He smiled and said, “It really is kind of cool in here.” He went on to say: “Back in January there were several days when it really was cold.” Oh, yes, I remembered. Even the folks I attend church with from Montana and Minnesota would at least agree that a coat is appropriate for fifteen-degree weather. It was really cold in the early hours of the morning.
The young man went on to say: “I have something a little larger than a moped that I use for transportation. Of course, I try to take the back roads whenever I can because my bike won’t go as fast as sixty miles per hour. That makes it dangerous on Hwy 290. But it was really cold in January”. I said: “Wow! How did you keep from freezing to death?” He responded, “I’ve got a good coat and I know how to dress in layers. It really was okay.”
The waiter’s name is Nick. If you dine at Trudy’s ask for him. He is a very pleasant young man with a good attitude. Necessity is the baseline for managing the inconvenience of cold. He explained that his scooter gets a hundred miles per gallon of fuel. Of course, in warmer weather he rides a bicycle to work. He credits that for keeping him in shape. He lives between Oak Hill and Austin and he is not deterred by cold weather.
Consequently, cold is a relative term and people do what they have to do to survive. Maybe the General is right. I may need to give away a few of my coats.
All My Best!