Being in the deep freeze for a couple of days reminded me of something that happened when I was in grad school in Iowa. When I first arrived in Cedar Falls in the fall of 1997, the locals were determined to impress upon me the extent of the cold I was going to experience in an Iowa winter. I didn’t have a car, so I had to walk everywhere, and my first year I lived a mile or more from the school of music. Knowing there was nothing I could do about it except adjust, I got my attitude and my wardrobe set.
By the time my second winter rolled around, I had the routine down: long underwear, jeans and sweatpants over top; two pairs of socks, fur-lined boots and a pair of shoes to change into when I reached school. T shirt, sweat shirt, coat. Two scarves, earmuffs, a pair of gloves with mittens over top. I still got cold walking from point A to point B, but not dangerously so. And actually, I complained less than the locals did, because I figured I’d chosen this climate, so I needed to deal with it.
One day in my second year I bundled up in my dozen layers and went outside without checking the weather. As soon as I stepped out the door I realized it wasn’t as cold as I had been expecting. But I wanted to get up to school and practice, so I wasn’t going to take the time to disrobe. I just went ahead.
When I rounded the corner of the music school, I came face to face with a fellow graduate student who hailed from Canada. He was wearing a light jacket–unzipped–one pair of jeans, and Birkenstocks (no socks). He and I stopped and stared at each other. “Uh, Kate, it’s not that cold,” he said.
“It’s not that warm, either!” I said.
May your Wednesday be warmer than the last few days!