Thursday, February 08, 2007

it's like a tundra sometimes

Cold day after cold day, I find myself staring at the women wearing heels or not wearing scarves or hats. These are the women for which winter is merely a season of coats and cute boots, not of unbearably frostbiting temperatures and crunching snow underfoot. With recent highs in the single digits, there have been noticeably less of this sort of woman on the streets of Chicago. But I still see them teetering around ice in four-inch heels (not heeled boots, just heels). I don't ask myself if I will ever be one of these women, caring more about my appearance than staying warm. I do wonder, however, if I can ever pull off looking halfway cute while being bundled in multiple layers.

Catching my reflection in the El's scratched window, I look more homeless than hot. Black Uggs that are splotched white from winter 05-06, which I haven't cleaned because I don't like my Uggs in the first place. Long, brown belted coat which looks beautiful with a tidy scarf and flats, but bulky when paired with hat, heavy scarf, boots, and thick underlayers of wool and cotton. In the mornings, on my way to the gym, I care very little about my appearance. It's cold and dark (although that's starting to change), and all I want to do is get to the El station which, after a few inches of snow fell this week, seems like it's across the Great Plains. My dirty boots crunch across the haphazardly shoveled sidewalks. It actually surprised me Wednesday morning that anyone had shoveled. You see the last time we had a lot of snow in December, the sidewalks became a disaster: covered in ice which was covered with snow. I found myself walking in the street when possible. It's not out of laziness that our neighbors don't shovel, it's that they might fear being sued. (Some Good Samaritan law which states that shoveled sidewalks and individuals falling on said sidewalks equal potential lawsuit. Do nothing, someone falls, and you aren't at risk. Nice.)

Seriously, it has been so cold that appearance has been of little interest to me. Usually I take time to choose an outfit for work the next day. When it's cold, I pair some pants with a sweater and I'm done. I bury my face in my scarf, look at the ground and walk briskly to work, home, the gym - no need to glance around at everyone else. But there are people who do it, people for whom the cold means nothing. They go out like it's springtime, running around the city or going out every night (that is an entirely different blog post altogether - going out when it's freezing). You know, maybe I'm too practical. Or maybe I need to move.

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