Thursday, December 14, 2017


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this conclusion – the rapidly thinning hair, the simple arithmetic of “current year minus birth year,” the thoroughly outdated cultural references, the fact that I now identify with the parents in Disney movies – but the one that has been most relevant here of late is simply outerwear.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.


LucyInDisguise said...

70° F is also my upper limit. Anything above that and I'm walking around in my own private rain storm. (I do not perspire. I sweat.)

I usually don't break out the heavy winter wear until we go subzero but this past week lows have been in the single digits and I'm not at all ashamed to admit to feeling the cold a little more this year. Still not cold enough to go for the body armor, but the heavy parka came out of the closet on Tuesday.

Never even suspected.


David said...

I hear you - I find that I do feel the cold more than I used to, though I still prefer it and I still run warmer than most folks. Just not as warm as before.

I have one of those coats too, a big down-filled monstrosity that's good for days where none of the temperatures have real square roots. It leaks feathers and at some point I should replace it, but I just can't see spending the money for something I will wear 10 days a year. Which, I suppose, is another sign that I am old. :)