Although this accumulation is completely different.
And by “different” I mean entirely justified.
Lemme… no. I’ll do that in a second. (Look out for the upcoming “Lemme.”)
But first, this.
Nobody needs eleven belts. Especially, me, the indefensible possessor of eleven belts, as I have one magnificent belt that, when you flip around the buckle, it transforms from being a black belt into being a brown belt. Or vice versa, depending on which one it was first. (This is not magic – “Poof! It’s a black belt!” “Poof! It’s a brown belt!” The belt is black on one side and brown on the other. But yes it’s magic, in that it’s an incredible invention, ranking in the “Top… maybe Seven” of my most cherished possessions, along with my still-working-after-thirty-five-years “Solar Calculator”, which needs no batteries, or even the sun.)
I readily acknowledge that I do not need eleven belts. Anyone out there holding their pants up with a rope, or, more inconveniently still, their hand, what can I tell you? It is an unfair world. And not just about belts.
On the other hand, I do need four jackets. I mean, having four jackets is not life-and- death. But they are hardly extravagant. (Barring the quality of the jackets in question, which could probably be cheaper.)
Okay, now back to the “Lemme.”
It is uncomfortable-bordering-on-sadistic to mention California weather to people living in cold places in the winter. I mean, I had a birthday recently, and we had a barbecue. (The outdoor temperature was seventy-seven.) A similar celebration in my hometown would be, like, “Home would you like your icicle?”
It is furtherly insulting to report that sometimes – at least by Southern California standards – it feels cold. I truly believe in the concept of “thinner blood.” I was in Toronto this past December, and my quivering blood begged me to go home.
It feels legitimately cold here when the temperature drops to – why do I feel the need to keep apologizing – the high forties. You can gauge the displeasure of these occasional “dips” on the residents’ faces. It’s like, “We want our money back!”
Okay, here comes my counter-intuitive observation.
In one way for people living in cold places, winter is easier.
One way! One way!
Man! I could feel the hostility erupting through the screen!
But just think about it.
You put your heavy winter coat on in October and you keep it on until May. There are no calculating decisions to make. “Should I wear it?” Of course, you wear it! (Fictional Historical Tidbit: “Scott of the Antarctic” died because of, “Maybe I’ll just wear a heavy sweater.”)
You wear the same coat the whole winter.
The hat, perhaps, provides options. Earflaps up and tied over your head. Earflaps down and clasped under your chin. Earflaps dangling loosely around your ears. That’s it. Everything else – toque to galoshes – you just “suit up” and you go outside.
If it is an absolute necessity to do so.
Here, although it is – apologies again – considerably warmer in the winter overall, there are detectable gradations in the temperature throughout the day.
Hence the necessity for four jackets.
(Possibly more – if are inordinately sensitive to the gradations and are temperamentally immune to insidious “Jacket Envy” – but at least, minimally, two. I don’t know anyone who weathers L.A. winters with one jacket.)
The thing is – and it is not a “gift”, it is assiduously developed –
one must be able to determine, with unerring accuracy,
which jacket to wear when.
The determining procedure is simple. Yet incredibly subtle.
Consider my Thursday “Pre-Morning Walk” ritual.
I go outside on my porch and I stand there. “For how long?” Protecting “trade secrets” my enigmatic response would be, “Just long enough.” Once this delicate assessment – the current temperature, making accommodations for the wind – has been confidently calibrated…
And then, you decide.
Is it the “lightweight windbreaker?” Is it the heavier suede windbreaker? Is it the light leather jacket? Or is it the lined, heavier leather jacket?
You slip on the appropriate garment, and you’re off.
(Hoping you remembered which jacket you left your keys in before closing the door.)
The walk itself will tell you if you have made the correct decision. “Over-jacketing” triggers “the sweats” and pitying looks from strangers who “jacketed” correctly. “Under-jacketing” consequences range from the chills to a hospital stay.
Sometimes, due to the continuing, although minimal, fluctuations in the weather, you leave the house “jacketed” to perfection, and by the return walk home…
It no longer applies.
It’s like you need two jackets for one walk, the preliminary heavier jacket for “The Set-Out” and the breezier “Lightweight” for the return.
A Professional Tip: It better to “over-jacket” than to “under.” Heavier jackets, you can unzip. Lighter jackets, you are a shivering goner. Hopefully not literally, but you never know.
Over the years living here, I have developed “The Touch.” I stand outside, “testing the waters, so to speak. I then return to the coat rack, and like a golfer choosing the appropriate club, I pick the appropriate jacket.
And when I get it right…
“How sweet it is.”
The “Modulated Jackets” event at the Olympics? (An addition I have heard has been seriously discussed. *)
I am a definite contender.
* The idea has never been mentioned.
But a guy can dream, can’t he?