Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Inside the snow-globe

Like much of the East, we've been snowed under for the past ten days. We didn't get even a third of the snow that Boston did--a fact I take great pleasure in pointing out--but we got enough that it's still heaped everywhere. Whatever surfaces aren't icy are slushy and salty and dirty and gross, so every venture out remains a minor expedition.

And you know, of all the things I hate about winter, the one I may hate the most is all the gear it requires. I hate putting on a coat just to take out the trash. I hate wearing snowboots to the gym. I hate the feeling of all those layers. I hate how grubby all my outerwear gets. I hate the monotony of always wearing the same things. And I really hate having to take all that crap off and put it back on eight times a day.

In this respect, this winter has been better than last. Last year, although I was on sabbatical, I was commuting downtown three days a week on public transportation, walking about a mile, and then wending my way through a Habitrail of skybridges between buildings to get to my Italian class. I dressed for the commute and for the fact that I wasn't teaching, so I wore lots of boring and practical layers. As soon as I entered the first building, I started peeling them off--first hat and gloves, then scarf, then coat, then vest, and finally I'd wind up at my classroom with a huge heap of clothes in my arms. I looked about as harassed and bedraggled as I felt.

This year, I'm commuting by car to MY VERY OWN OFFICE. My clothing choices aren't unlimited--I still have to plan for the walk to and from the parking lot and for the possibility that I might need to shovel out my car--but I have a reason to dress up and take pleasure in what I wear. And once I get to my office, I can throw all my outerwear in the corner, change into heels, and trot around free and unburdened, like a human being rather than a pack animal.

This is, for whatever reason, a huge psychological boost. And I need as many of 'em as I can get.


What small pleasures get you through the sloppy, dreary, ass-end of winter?


Fie upon this quiet life! said...

I've been on a soup kick lately. It's convenient and slightly healthier than other things. But the heat of it really helps me. My office is FREEZING, so having soup for lunch is a temporary reprieve from icy fingers and shivering.

I also got several nice scarves for Christmas this year, so I've been enjoying using them as accents for my clothes, since I have to truly bundle up in my office.

Flavia said...


Are you not allowed to use a space heater? My office can get cold in the winter, but a little $15 space heater under the desk does the trick.

Now that I have a personal chef living with me, I've also found that autumnal/wintery dishes are a nice compensation for the weather--soups, stews, winter vegetables, braised things. (Left to my own devices, I eat the same few things year-round, so this is a newer discovery for me.)

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

We had a building burn down a year ago on campus, so they are asking no one to use space heaters as a precaution. I'm not even sure a space heater was involved honestly. So I bundle up but my fingers are always cold.

phd me said...

Oh, the layers! The bulky layers! I have a nice collection of knitted-with-love hats and scarves that make me feel a little better about wrapping up very morning (and afternoon and evening), and I've made a point of buying coats that I think are somewhat flattering while keeping the frigid temperatures at bay. Mostly, I just pray for spring...

Flavia said...

PhD Me:

Yes, scarves are a reliable pick-me up--Cosimo bought me a gorgeous new one for Christmas--and I do like my raspberry felt cloche hat (though I hate having to carry it around). As for coats, I always pick out ones I like. . . but within half a winter they get gross and depressing!