Friday, February 06, 2009


Two weeks ago I wrote a column whining about winter. Paragraph after paragraph wasted on how snow and freezing rain and cold weather was bringing me down. Little did I know that Mother Nature must be a regular reader. "You think THAT was bad?" she cackled. "I'll show you some serious winter, dude."

Yes, the weather we'd had up 'til then was just an appetizer. Mere days after that column ran, we were all graced with The Second Coldest Day In Recorded History or whatever it ended up being. I just call it "________ cold" (you can insert your own adjective, but I prefer an obscenity.)

Don't worry, though -- I won't dare whine about it this time. If I DO, by this time NEXT week, we'll officially enter a new ice age. Instead, I'm choosing to look back at the week in a pleasant, nostalgic, hey-remember-when-the-outdoors-was-27- degrees-colder-than-my-refrigerator-freezer kinda way. Let's just say I will never again watch "Ice Road Truckers" with a hint of jealousy. But somehow I survived the nightmare that clipped on down from Alberta -- with a few lessons learned in the process:

(1) SCARVES ARE NOT JUST FOR WUSSIES. I am a habitual weather under-dresser. I have a cheap coat from Old Navy -- one of those things that just looks like a pair of cargo pants slightly reshaped into coat form -- and that's usually the extent of my winterwear. Gloves and stocking caps have never been in my vocabulary. One of the advantages of being a winter weather weenie is that I hardly go outside in it. Ergo, I don't really need head-to-toe thermal protection when my exposure to the elements is seldom more than hustling from my car to a building, right?

But even the most stubborn of under-dressers takes note when the news tells us that "frostbite can occur in seven minutes." It seemed that my coat needed some backup reinforcements, so on Weatherpocalypse Eve, I spent the lunch hour in search of warm winter fashionwear.

Primarily, I was on the lookout for a new pair of gloves, which I found in no time at all. I settled on a fancy leather pair with cashmere lining. Wikipedia defines cashmere as "a fiber obtained from the Cashmere goat," of which, based on the price tag, there must be only ONE -- and he apparantly doesn't work cheap. Still, they're pretty awesome gloves, and toasty, too. They look like the stereotypical "Uh-oh-watch-out-coz-I'm-totally-gonna-kill-you" murderer gloves from any bad 70's detective show. I feel devious just wearing them.

But next to the gloves in the store was a polite little display of scarves. I hadn't even considered buying a scarf, but as I glanced at them, I heard my mom's voice screaming in my head: "KEEP YOUR NECK WARM!" I'm not sure why my mom used to say that, but she did. Never in my life have I complained of a cold neck. Still, the voice in my head sounded urgent, so I bought a scarf and took it home with pride and confidence. Winter could suck it, for I now had protection.

Then I got home, unfolded the scarf, and promptly went, "Ummm, now what?" This was pretty much my first time with a scarf since I learned to dress myself. What the heck do you DO with it? Does it just hang there? Do you wrap it around your neck over and over again until you choke yourself out? I vaguely recall those kids in the Harry Potter movies running about Hogwarts with stylishly-tied scarves. I shook the scarf violently, but alas, no owner's manual fell out.

Thankfully, in times of crises, we have the internet. All it took was ONE Google search to discover that there are, apparantly, no less than 46 known and acceptable ways to tie a scarf. I am now a scarf-tying expert. Need a European Waistsash? Make sure to keep the bow soft. Having problems perfecting your Rosetta Turban? Make sure you begin with a triangle fold.

(2) IT MUST NOT GET COLD IN GERMANY. I say this because when I tried to start my Volkswagen in -26 temps, the Wonder Beetle promptly said, "I don't think so." But in German, so "ich denke nicht." After exhausting all get-to-work possibilities (including a 3 hour ETA from a less-than-lucky cab company,) I had to suck it up and be a man. I had to take control of the situation in a manly way: I had to call my boss to come jumpstart my car. My female boss. Yes, nothing says macho-macho-man quite like standing around useless while your female boss asks you to step aside because you're impeding her roadside assistance. Next day? Same dead battery, same boss, same brute machismo leaving my body never to return again.

(3) Most importantly, I learned that, regardless of the outdoor temperature, we can all take comfort in the knowledge that PEOPLE STILL SUCK. Friday night, mere hours before the end of the cold snap, I somehow managed to get my barely-functioning car down to the District for my weekend DJ gig. I stepped out of the car, shut the door, and turned around -- to a strange drunken girl punching me in the arm as hard as she could.

"SLUG BUG! SLUG BUG! HA HA HA HA!" she yelled as she skipped away. I stood there for a moment, hoping against hope that she'd slip on the ice and do an asphalt faceplant, but alas, no such luck.

So then, lessons learned? Cashmere goats must always be uncomfortably warm. Scarves can be tied in a plethora of exciting ways. Next time I'm buying a car with a battery bigger than a D cell and, while I'm at it, one that doesn't encourage random street violence. And unless I have a face-to-face with the Snow Miser himself, I'm never again writing a column about how much I hate winter. At least not 'til next winter.

No comments: