Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Subzero blog.

Monday was cold, today was colder. Temps actually fell two or three degrees below zero Fahrenheit by the early morning, and the wind kicked up in an evil way. I did not walk a mile to the train station this morning. Crossing the large parking lot at the station was bad enough.

To dress for such vicious cold, start with long underwear, both leggings and an undershirt. Recently I got a new undershirt just for this kind of day; for some reason, the fact that it has information printed on the back of the neck, instead of the usual tag, was a big selling point on the package. It's warm anyway, regards of the tag.

Layer on top of that a normal business casual shirt and pants. On top of that, a sweater. On top of that, a coat -- in my case the down coat I bought in China those years ago, for about $10 in yuan, that I believed would see me through Mongolia and Siberia and Finland (and it did). The Beijing market where I bought it was frequented by a lot of Russian buyers in those days, looking to take coats back to Russia for resale. You had to figure that these would be good coats, since Russians are probably particular in this matter. It's tatty now, but it's the warmest thing I have.

Add to that all the peripherals: socks, shoes with Goretex, ski gloves, and the all-important scarf and cap. There are those here in Chicagoland who refuse to wear anything on their heads, no matter how arctic the climate. I see them on cold days like today. Ice could form on their eyebrows and they'd still go bareheaded. The men who do it don't want to do a sissy thing like wear a cap: male vanity. The women who do it don’t want to muss up their hair: female vanity.


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