I think I am officially old.
Yes, I know.
There are any number of hints that I could have taken in order to draw this conclusion – the rapidly thinning hair, the simple arithmetic of “current year minus birth year,” the thoroughly outdated cultural references, the fact that I now identify with the parents in Disney movies – but the one that has been most relevant here of late is simply outerwear.
It’s December in Wisconsin, which means that it’s getting cold. Not Yukon cold, but cold enough – most mornings when we leave to get the girls off to school it’s about 17F (about -8C), which is enough to remind us that it will be winter soon.
And every morning I say to my youngest daughter, “Put a coat on! You’ll freeze!”
She rolls her eyes and says, “Okay, dad,” and then she puts on a fall-weight jacket and that’s as good as it gets, really. When I drop them off at school it’s easy to see that she’s in the majority, not me. Some of those kids are just wearing t-shirts.
The school plans for this, by the way. The lockers at Local Businessman High School are about a hands-width across and will not actually fit any coat warm enough to withstand a February day in Wisconsin. The jackets they wear in December can fit if you shove them hard enough, I am told, but you don’t actually need to hang them up on anything. They will stay up just from the tight fit.
There is a part of me that sympathizes with my daughter, I have to admit. I used to be that kid. I like cooler weather. I still don’t get cold too easily – I’m happy in my windbreaker down to about 40F (5C), I see no reason for the air temperature ever to go above 70F (20C) no matter what time of year it is, and I much prefer winter to summer since you can always add clothing and the reverse is not necessarily true, especially in the United States. We’re kind of weird that way.
We’re kind of weird in a lot of ways, really.
But I have reached a point where I am all too aware of the fragility of the human body and the relentless assault of the elements upon it, and I have adopted the Swedish motto (“There is no bad weather, only bad clothing”).
So I say my bit and she says her bit and so the cycle of life continues.