It gets cold up in them thar Rockies. Weather frequently happens. They get a lot of that snow that you read about in books, and they start getting it pretty early in the season, sometimes as early as... right around now. When I was in elementary school, cold weather wasn't something to dread. It was just a spoke in the ever-changing color wheel, from summer greens to autumn golds to winter's stark black against white. I remember a lot of Halloweens as a child, arguing with my parents about how my super awesome Scooby Doo costume would be totally ruined if they made me wear a big heavy down coat over it. Even if there was snow on the ground that night, I would've been happy to go trick or treating with only my thin, vinyl store-bought costume to protect me from frostbite, teeth chattering happily all the way through the neighborhood, my breath making clouds behind me. (The Mini-Pirate will never know how lucky she has it -- when she canvasses the neighborhood for bite-size Snickers bars in a couple weeks, it'll likely be coat-free.)
In Colorado, the ground freezes by mid-October and next thing you know, each day starts with a thin veneer of ice over your windshield. Your lawn is crunchy, you see your breath, and after that, you buckle down for the season. You got your big clompin' boots making puddles by the front door. You got your thick gloves that make it impossible to press the buttons on your Walkman while waiting for the bus to school. You got Snow Days.
Back in high school, my friends and I would wander around town late at night in the dead of Winter, hanging out... outside. We'd walk up and down Boulder's outdoor mall on Pearl Street, or hang out in some downtown park or parking garage and play music, and smoke, and just be teenage. The insides of our noses would freeze, and we usually lost feeling in our feet before the night was over, but it never seemed to bother us.
Sometimes we'd spend our Saturday nights wandering up and down the Pearl Street mall, a red-brick promenade lined with trees and little boutiques. In the summer the mall would buzz with street performers and tourists strolling around with ice cream cones until late into the evening. But after the first big frost of the year, it would start to clear out after sunset, the pedestrians retreating into the bars and restaurants that threw squares of light onto the snow banks outside. And by the end of November, it would be just us -- hanging out under street lamps, chain smoking, perfectly content in ten-degree weather, wearing carefully ripped and frayed clothing in an attempt to pretend we were homeless runaways.
Older folks would hustle past us on those evenings, bundled up in fur-lined coats that made them look like yetis in a hurry. Sometimes they'd see us and say, "What is wrong with kids today? They don't have the sense to come in from the cold."
We'd laugh. Cold? It's toasty out here! Stupid thin-blooded old people. Ha! So fragile, we laughed. We will outlive you, you brittle adults, and after you've wasted away, we will RULE THE EARTH! Because of our awesome youth and toughness!
It's twenty-(ahem) years later, and I'm living in Southern California, where the Fall temperatures, which usually hover in the toasty Indian Summer 80s, dipped down to an invigorating 65 degrees this past weekend, bringing in a wee bit o' unseasonal rain. (Cue the Minnesota readers: Oooooh. Brrr. How hard for you sad, sad Californians.)
And I was frakkin' freezing here.
My blood is thinning. My skin doesn't heat itself with an internal youth fire like it used to. I'm now adding something new onto the list of Things I Never Thought I Would Become, beneath Parent, Teacher, and Bald: Big Weather Wuss.
I blame California completely, of course.
I was sitting around our house yesterday afternoon huddling under a damn blanket. Wearing slippers. At one point I considered donning a hat, because my ears were chilly. I could barely remember walking around with my friends in Colorado, braving low temperature and arctic winds, and not caring.
It's ridiculous. Do I need to move up to the Klondike to give my circulation something to fight? Develop walrus skin? SaucyWench and I are debating moving out of California someday; if we do, it will be to a place with weather. The way I see it, I'll have two options if that ever happens. either toughen up and develop a sturdier epidermis, or invest in one of these:
|Not me. Yet. But give it time.|
P.S. I'm over at DadCentric today, writing about a little Halloween costume debate the Mini-Pirate and I are having. Check it out here.