It’s been snowing in the Portland area for a couple days. Where we are—apparently the banana belt of the city—nothing’s really sticking so there’s school today and that means every kid in the district is bummed out. The forecast keeps changing but it says more snow is on its way. This is a big deal because Portland absolutely SHUTS DOWN when there’s even an inch of snow on the ground—no one knows how to drive in it and people totally freak out. It’s funny because it’s true.
I went to school in Walla Walla for five years and THAT place gets snow. One of my favorite memories of winters there is watching the snow fall from the warmth of my dorm room. It was so lovely and calm—not anxiety-inducing, like it is here. There were a few times over those years that I got out in the middle of the night and played in the snow with friends. Such happy times, walking down the middle of College Avenue in the peaceful, dark silence of white. Beauty, that.
Not so beautiful was, when the temps dropped to single digits, having my nose hairs freeze the instant I walked outside. Every time—EVERY TIME—I was convinced I had something in my nose and would subtly but furiously paw at my face, hoping to dislodge it. How anyone ever gets used to that weirdness, I don’t know. Maybe they don’t.
This morning as I shivered in the 39° car, I wondered how I ever kept myself warm during those five very cold snowy seasons of college. I didn’t wear stocking caps (they would have ruined my hair), and I didn’t wears boots (unless they matched my clothes). How did I not freeze to death? OK, I wore gloves and thick socks, but there’s no way that was enough.
And then I remembered The Coat. There was a tiny hole-in-the-wall Eddie Bauer outlet in Spokane, and it had super-discounted prices—not like the slightly discounted prices at Eddie Bauer outlets nowadays—so we drove up frequently to shop. Kim F’n-W (she was just Kim Eff back then) and I each nabbed trenchcoats with removable goose down linings that were marked down from $200-some to just $35. We thought we were rockin’ awesome for finding these stylin’ coats. We were eager for winter to arrive! The coat’s down lining was so thick that it almost felt hot in the biting cold air—it was like walking around in a sleeping bag. With a belt. And no lower leg coverage. And hand holes. You know what? It was nothing like walking around in a sleeping bag.
I was warm.