Do Not Go Outside

10:58 AM

I am a firm believer that during the winter, God intended humanity to live in connected, sunlit, heated tunnels that run from bed to cafeteria to classes. I didn't always feel this way. Back in November, when I got fleece-lined leggings, I didn't feel this way. I felt empowered. Bring on the negative temperatures! I've got fuzz on my legs! (And by "fuzz," I of course meant the fleece-lined leggings and not the week's worth of stubble that inevitably grows during the season when you wear tights 24/7. Just to clarify.)

Despite this deeply held conviction, I still live on a campus where I have to cross the street to get to classes and cross a couple more blocks to get to food. I have considered going into hibernation and living off my fat store. Unfortunately, I need more fat to alter my lifestyle to that of a bear's, so up the hill I trudge. After complaining about how raw and blistered my nose felt for a month, I've finally taken to dressing like someone out of Little House on the Prairie -- mittens, hat, hood, and scarf wound around my face. My nose doesn't hurt anymore. It's just my hubris. The first time I worked up enough courage to dress appropriately for the weather, I lamented to my roommate that I sincerely hoped I would meet nobody I knew on my way up the hill. I actually didn't care whether I knew them or not; I just didn't want to meet anybody. Upon plunging into the frozen tundra, I didn't meet a soul for the first few steps. I just got honked at by a green car. Go away, humanity. Come back when it's spring and I look cute. Other positive reactions have been uproarious laughter and You look so funny

It's hard, you know? It's hard to face this discrimination for being the only sane person on campus who actually protects her wimpy skin from the negative wind chill. Everyone else sold their warmth to the devil of looking good. (I did once accidentally end up trudging the same snow path as another young man who also had wound his face with scarf. Our eyes met briefly. We understood that we now had mutual respect for each other and that we didn't want to actually know who was under the scarves. Head down and keep walking.)

In the face of this unjust living situation, I developed another bitter belief:

Look cute and suffer.

I tried with fuzzy leggings and layers to outsmart this cold. Layers, layers, layers. The first rule to dressing in the Midwest. You know what? The layers mantra only works if you plan on snowboarding for an afternoon in a place of consistent temperature. Not here. Not at school. Sure, you can bundle up in all the layers you want and feel satisfactorily warm...until you get inside, and sweat starts prickling down your skin. No, I don't mean in a normal place to sweat where layers can be removed. I mean in the places where you cannot remove any clothing. Leg wear, for instance. As far as I know, it's still socially unacceptable to strip off tights, boots, and leggings in public. And that's where it's overly warm. Not the torso, which can be layered nicely with all kinds of cute things. The upper body remains frigid. It's the feet. The feet that feel abused by the layers of socks and tights and fluff-lined plastic in which you've constrained them. 

Even if it were socially unacceptable to strip off all that, you wouldn't want to. Your feet are already soaked in sweaty foot smell that soon nestles itself into all the nostrils within a twenty-foot radius. I naively thought that my sweaty foot smell could never cause so much annoyance. My boyfriend assured me it did. I've kept my boots on and my feet sweaty since then.

Of course, it's not an option to wear anything but snow boots -- not unless you desire to (1) twist a foot on black ice; (2) feel the frozen pavement under a third-of-an-inch synthetic leather; or (3) experience the glorious feeling of snow packing against and down your socks. Actually, that's not even the worst part. The worst part is when you get inside, and it melts, and you walk around the rest of the day in wet, clammy, smelly, gross socks.

A word to the wise: don't wear your cute fuzzy socks with boots. Just don't. It's nasty. They turn weird colors. They smell strange smells. Keep them for when you hibernate. 

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about winter dressing is how it uncannily reveals how out of sync I am with both nature and my fellow human beings. Without fail, whenever I finally get it into my head that it really is cold outside and I really can't wear that cute dress and heels, I bundle up ridiculously warm...on a warmer day. And when I get brave and risk wearing cute clothes, it's freezing. I can't win. It also doesn't help that whoever controls the buildings' temps holds a personal grudge against me. Proof: One day, I sat through coldness in the union, in the cafeteria, and in class number one. I was freezing. But -- heaven be praised -- classroom number two was gloriously warm. I actually took off my coat. I felt like a normal human being. My professor walked in and paced the room. "It's so hot in here. It's not just me, is it? No?" Before my agonizing scream, he had opened the window. 

I suppose, then, that I should retitle this post. Do not go outside. Do not go inside. Just go to Hawaii.

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6 impressions

  1. Just this morning my daughter was complaining to me how she does not like to wear her (perfectly cute IMO) coat because it looks stupid and nobody at school wears a coat like that and anyway, while yes, it is cold walking through the snow to the bus in the morning, the sun comes out and by the afternoon she is warm enough with her fleece and it is *horribly* inconvenient to haul that big, bulky, awful coat around.

    Perhaps I should have been more sympathetic. ;-)

    Hang in there! Spring is coming!


  2. I have always been one to sacrifice style for comfort... even when my sister asks, "You're not going out in that are you?" Now I am doing placement in a public school, and guess what! all the kids have to wear boots and change into shoes... so do the adults, so now I just wear my snowboots everywhere and change into shoes when I get there. So much more convenient lol.

  3. Your musings are just hilarious. Hopefully, a sense of humor and a good attitude will see you through the winter!

    I think it's a sign of maturity when one finally starts dressing appropriately for the weather at a possible cost to cuteness or style. Most of your younger siblings (save Caroline) have yet to learn this.

    I say: we northerners learn character from the cold weather.

  4. Hahaha, this is hilarious and also the main reason why I'm a little reluctant to consider Hillsdale... Is it seriously that cold? :-0

  5. Anna, NOOOO! STILL COME TO HILLSDALE! It's really not that bad. Most days. I'm naturally freezing all the time, anyway. If you end up here, buy fuzzy leggings. It'll save your life. :)

  6. Ha, ha! Sometimes I feel this way. But about Georgia, not about actual cold. I know nothing of the cold of which you speak.


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