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Habits Related To Weather

I have a snow day ritual that is sort of counterintuitive, born on a weekend in 2003 when I got stuck at a friend's house in Watertown by a snowstorm and got so stir-crazy that I borrowed a pair of Doc Martens from her and, fortified with Chambord-spiked hot chocolate, walked to Harvard Square. When I know a big storm is coming, I delay any errands, avoid the laying in of supplies, and wait, if I can, until the peak of a storm to leave the house. I travel on foot to the neighborhood grocery store that is furthest from my house and buy the ingredients for a spinach lasagna that is such a pain in the ass to make that I basically only bother when I've been gifted a day off of work for weather-related reasons, or when a very close friend gives birth to a baby. Sometimes there's a box of brownie mix in the grocery bag as well. I walk in the center of empty streets, enjoying the temporary defeat and burial of all cars, listening to songs carefully chosen to make stomping through snowpiles sound like heroism rather than drudgery. If this happens after dark, so much the better. I take my time. I walk into the wind. I stop to admire the contrast between dark bare tree branches and the white that sits on top of them. I forget to raise the hood of my coat, and it fills with blown-in snow. I brush myself off on thresholds and shake my head like a wet dog so that I don't drip on already-wet floors, and knock my feet against doorjambs in a deliberate pattern - left instep twice, left toe, right instep twice, right toe.

Friday night I walked the two miles to an apartment in East Cambridge for a small social event. It was cold enough out to make me consider shortening the trip by hopping on a bus, but too cold to actually stand around waiting for a bus, so I didn't. Before I left, I reached deep into a mass of scarves hanging in the closet  to pull out the last of the winter layers - a giant gray handknit wool thing that I can wrap twice around my neck, high enough to cover my face to the nose, and still have enough length left at the ends to spread in a double-layer across my chest. I hadn't worn it yet this winter because it's the warmest scarf that I own, and I like the reassurance of knowing that whatever I am wearing, there is something warmer in reserve. At some point every year I resign myself to wearing a coat*, to a hat that covers my ears, to gloves, but I always resist these concessions, holding off as long as possible and have walked around deep into January with bare hands jammed into the pockets of a thick hoodie and no hat on. And when temperatures rise briefly, I shuck off the layers and revel in how well I've adapted, so that what was miserable in November is glorious in February. Today, when I made the grocery run, the first store didn't have one thing I needed. The second didn't either, but the third did, so there will be lasagna tonight. I wore my warmest hat, but the warmest scarf is back in the closet.

And even when I've dressed in my thickest layers and warmest garments, I have one final resort. The Chicago winters of my childhood are a talisman now, the K-12 years that never yielded a single snow day and the feel of feeble heat lamps on el platforms. It's windier here, usually snowier, but never as cold, and that knowledge keeps me warm.

* For a long time after I moved to Boston I never actually wore a proper coat, even though I did own one. That time I walked home from Watertown I was wearing a zip-up hoodie from Target under a nylon windbreaker.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 10th, 2015 09:41 pm (UTC)
These winter storms make me miss Cambridge all the more, for pretty much your post's reasons.

Waltham is great at keeping things open, but there's still a mindset of just hunkering down. There are also fewer people to wander out to.

(We actually planned on going to what I assume is the same East Cambridge gathering on Friday, but the weather combined with sicknesses, combined with no parking and horrible T options made it next to impossible).

I think, if Baxter were able to be walked it would be a lot more fun. Even though we've never done it, I somehow "miss" going out and exploring with him during snow storms, it's like we're supposed to be out there.
Feb. 12th, 2015 06:27 pm (UTC)
The weather is doing a lot to validate all my life choices, particularly staying urban and refusing to consider jobs with significant commutes. One of the people who works for me spent three hours on her inbound commute today. I mean, I guess I would get a lot of reading done, and that would be nice, but UUUUUGGGHHHH.

It's been so much fun watching neighborhood dogs deal with the snow from our living room windows. Happy Snow Dogs are adorable. I ran into one guy with a pug the other day and told him that I was pretty sure I'd watched his dog freak the fuck out in the park the day before and he was like "Yep, THAT'S MAH BUDDY!"
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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