Sunday, January 17, 2010

Put Some Clothes On

Among the collection of Peter Egan articles I recently received was one in which he said that while he enjoys many vehicle-related pastimes, he has never taken to snowmobiling for the simple reason that he doesn’t like being out in the cold for any length of time. I stand firmly with him in support of this. I cannot think of a cold-weather outdoor activity of any interest to me. Further, of the various activities in which I have been able to participate in both warm and cold weather, I have yet to find one I prefer cold.

Lately it hasn’t been the cold itself that has attracted my attention, but how people deal with it. Under-dressing seems to be standard for many folks. I regularly see people walking (or more usually running) from place to place wearing clothing apparently selected in the hope that they will get to a source of warmth before they lose skin or are unable to move. I know of at least two recent incidents involving stranded motorists on the highway who were wearing shorts when they were rescued.

Slight allowance can be made for travelers from warmer climates, but it’s not like our winters are a secret; a few minutes watching the Weather Channel before coming here would give them the gist. As for locals, I think there’s a fair amount of the old we’re-used-it-around-here mentality in play. No one wants to admit the cold bothers them, even as they sprint through it then do calisthenics to restore feeling in their extremities.

This has always mystified me, given the ready availability of the solution. Are these people really so pressed for time that they just can’t spare 30 seconds to put on a coat? I have occasionally been teased for my winter garb, but I have never understood why I should sacrifice comfort for the privilege of courting frostbite. Ebenezer Scrooge may not have much fun pre-conversion, but his appreciation of garments always struck me as quite sensible.