Thursday, November 13, 2014

On the Admission of Winter by Means of Natural Coat Selection

...or the Preservation of Frigid Faces in the Struggle for Life.

For as long as I can remember, I have tried to deny the coming of winter. I am not a big fan, and this denial is a good example of that. To illustrate I have to detail my annual winter coat transition routine. It is an evolution of sorts, albeit an involuntary one.

When I bike to work in the summer, often times, I won't wear a coat at all. As fall approaches, I work my way up the coat chain. I start with my "blue coat" that is an unlined wind-breaking kind of coat that says "Yeah, there's moments of chilliness, but it'll pass. " It also rolls up small enough so it can be packed in my backpack in case the day warms up.

Near the middle of October, I usually upgrade to my "black coat", a slightly heavier coat that is an admission that August truly is over and September ain't coming back, either. Unlike the blue coat, this coat says "Yep, I guess fall is here and you'd be best to admit as much."

A couple of weeks later by the end of October I usually cave and upgrade to my Lands End squall jacket. It is fully lined and cuts the wind nicely. It was starting to fray on the banded bottom, so this year my wife found a really nice substitute at Costco. It is a double zippered, hooded, waterproof, made-in-Vietnam coat she somehow got for $35. I love it, as it is a "tweener" coat for fall and spring.

When winter sets in I resort to the old reliable maroon parka. It says "Yep, yer done, beach boy. This is the real deal. Get used to it, cuz for the next 5 months I'm the best friend you have." I don't like it's tone, but it has saved me a few times, so when it speaks, I listen.

So I've been wearing the Costco Vietnam coat a couple of weeks now. Last week I took off the zippered hood as it seemed a bit overkill-ish for the fall. As much as the weather in this state permits, I like to try and look a bit fashionable, at least for the month of November. Come December, all bets are off. It's boots, parka, gloves, hat and an "I don't care what anyone thinks" attitude.

Well then this week rolls around. Up north and back home they got belted with 12-18 inches of snow. Down here wasn't quite so bad, but here's how the progression went.


  • Monday was gorgeous. We hit 60 degrees. I walked home with my Vietnam coat half unzipped, no hood, thinking, I wish I'd had my other, lighter black coat on.
  • Tuesday the temps dropped to the 40's. I had the Vietnam coat zipped all the way up by the time I got to work. Then I wore my wool sweater (that I stash at work for cold cubicle days) underneath everything coming home because of the chill I'd gotten walking to work. I thought to myself "Why did I ever take off that stupid hood? What was I thinking? My ears and neck are freezing!"
  • Wednesday the temps are in the high twenties. Still unwilling to admit that winter is coming, I wear my Vietnam coat (with the hood now on it) baseball cap and gloves. "I got this," I think to myself as I head out the door. I'm walking along thinking, I don't need my hood up. This air is so crisp and fresh. Refreshing! Ah! Well, by the halfway point to work I had the hood up and was cursing that it didn't really have drawstrings like my Parka. In fact, what was I thinking with a baseball cap? I need my knit hat.
  • Thursday the temps remained in the mid twenties. I broke out the parka (aka, my maroon coat) and kept the hood snapped on it. It took everything in me to take this leap, this breach of November fashion etiquette, this admission of impending winter, but dang, it was nice. Besides, I didn't see any Midwestern Small Press NanoFamous Author Fashion Paparazzi hiding behind any hedges either, so I think I'm good that way, too. 

Now, if any of you know me, you know I'm happiest in shorts and a t-shirt, preferably on my bike with the sun on my face. As the end of summer approaches I undergo a process similar to my winter coat denial. I'll wear shorts and a sweatshirt. Some days I'll start in shorts and an hour later I'll be in long pants. It's total denial and total insanity. I know this. I'm in a twelve step program for it. But living in a place where we get three months of shorts weather, I need to take any chance I can get.

So, if I show up to your summer wedding in shorts and a t-shirt, now you'll understand why.

Blogging off...with hopes of going back to the Vietnam coat next week...Yeah, right.

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