Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Getting Dressed

I have a lot to look forward to in the coming year, not the least of which is coming just next week: the Inauguration of President Barak Obama.

Of course, the event itself will be something to be seen, heard, smelled and tasted. It will be a carnival of the American Animals, for the menagerie that lines the street will be as much a part of the parade as those who walk up the middle of of it. It will be a cold day, no doubt, but the warmth of so many bodies with so much hope for the new year will be a symbolic, if not literal, source of energy for our nation. I can feel it already.

I won't, however, be relying solely on the goodwill of my fellow man to provide for the physical protection from the cold temperatures and the possibility of freezing precipitation. As a true Texan living south of the Wacky--sorry, Waco--line that naturally inhibits my purchases of cold weather gear, it's safe to say that I have no garment that will actually keep all parts of me in a permanent Texas-toasty state. For example, I have jeans, but no heavy slacks. I don't own any 'sweats' and though I must have ten burnt orange t-shirts, I have only a single Texas-USC showdown sweatshirt in my drawer.

Shoes? I have a pair of cowboy boots given to me by my father-in-law nearly ten years ago, and though I love them, they are neither comfortable enough to wear for more than an hour or a two block walk nor are they warm enough to keep my bony feet from freezing in the late summer. I have tennis shoes, and though they are comfortable for walking and standing, they are useless if it's wet or even moderately cold.

Hats? I have a couple, but the warmest of them is simply a knit cap, and it doesn't even double over to add a second layer of protection for my ears which is a serious problem. I often feel like one of those big-eared dogs that live in the Australian desert and have ears at least twice the size of the rest of their heads to radiate heat. Problem is, though, that I have no need to get rid of heat most of the time, and in a cold--ie less than 98 degree--environment, my ears simply hurt from the rapid and irreversible energy transfer. But I have no ear muffs or Russian fur hat, or even a cheap hunters hat with plaid and canvas ear flaps. I do have a couple of baseball-style caps, but they are predictably thin and useful only for blocking the sun.

Coats? I have a couple, but nothing that extends below my hips. The last time I wore a heavy coat would have been when I lived in Paris, now twenty-five years ago. I probably carted the old 'P-coat' that Lynda and Bill gave me on my arrival in England in 1976 and which I wore for three years straight back to Austin, but obviously I haven't worn it or even seen it since 1980.

Sweaters? No, I gave them up last year, and have only this fall acquired two 'fleeces' for cool weather inhibition, shall we say, though I am inclined to wear them even on days like today, when we'll get into the high sixties. Somehow, I missed the sweater buying season, which must have been in the middle of the summer, because I never saw a sweater for sale last year at all. Of course, I wasn't exactly looking, but that's not the point.

The point, as I add up all these lovely deficiencies, is that I am woefully under-prepared for anything colder than today--remember, high sixties--and have but a week to make the change. I am not going to go buy a whole wardrobe, however. Following David's advice and the common sense it's based on, I'll manage with a lot of layers, and the addition of a few select items, like some fancy long-johns and a new pair of warm and comfy boots. Time to get dressed.

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