The coat episode happened in high school. It was the seventies and natural fabrics like wool were for squares. My coat was a groovy double-breasted number with a big gold buckle; very That Girl. It was made from weird space age material, shiny brown stuff — picture a soft, crinkled patent leather.
When the bus came, I’d been waiting in bone-chilling cold for half an hour. I got on, I found a seat, I sat down. And, crack, my coat broke. It had literally frozen stiff and when I sat on it, it cracked like a windshield. Not my finest moment.
Today was different. Today it was my shoes that froze and my feet were in them at the time. You see, I had to dig my car out from under nearly a foot of snow. I had to scrape ice off the windows. I had to pry open the driver’s door. All of this required standing and walking in frigid, shin-deep snow. It was, essentially, 20 minutes in the Yukon, a modified Iditarod.
In the process, my soft, pliable leather boots turned into cement shoes. My footsteps rang out, clattering loudly, something they don’t normally do. They echoed. It was unnerving. Did you know shoes could freeze? I didn’t. Then again, I’d never had my hands go numb inside gloves, either. But they did. When they started to thaw, yeow!, it felt as if they were on fire.
In the end, what saved me from the subzero temperatures was my hat — the red plaid jobbie with the furry ear flaps. It’s way too big for my undersized pinhead, it spins around pretty freely up there, but, oohhhh, it’s better than wearing a bun warmer. I wouldn’t have survived without that thing securely chin-strapped to my noggin. Seriously.
Other women wear the same kind of dorky hat and they look adorable. Charming, even. Me? No. I become Mrs. Fudd. Albeit a warm and cozy Mrs. Fudd.
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