I've never had to, up till now. For nine years, I lived in the tropics... things get cold when temperatures drop to 60 degrees. For thirteen years, I've lived in Southern California. I own eight pairs of flip-flops... and two pairs of shoes that have both a closed-toe and an enclosed heel.
|Flip-Flops. A good choice for every season. Right?|
But aside from the rare coincidence of cold and humidity arriving on the same day, my years in Central California were marked by a long-standing inability to believe that there existed temperatures colder than 60 degrees. I remember standing on the blacktop during the gray winter days of second grade, without a jacket or a sweater. I was cold, yes, but if I didn't let myself start to shiver, then I would be fine. Classmates and teachers would come by and marvel, "Aren't you cold?" And then before I could explain, they would remind themselves, "Oh yes, you lived in South America. You are used to it."
Not used to it, no. Just unable to comprehend that season called winter.
In eighth grade my lack of knowledge about winter caused me to ruin an otherwise 100 percent on a math test. Which is likely to have colder temperatures: Thanksgiving or Valentine's Day? My vast knowledge of seasons supplied the answer: Winter lasts from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. Spring starts shortly after.
My math teacher was unconvinced.
Even as a mature boomerang, home in between college and career (also known as the interlude between my years in Southern California), the frigid winter temps of 40 degrees disoriented me. I'd run outside to check the mail or take out trash and hurry back, surprised at the tingling pain in my bare feet.
|A typical winter day in Southern California. Notice the long sleeves.|
Gentle Readers, what is that thing called below freezing? And when people speak of temperatures in the single digits or below zero, it is like those imaginary numbers in math, right? It is purely an exercise of consistency in carrying a theory to its supposed extreme. Yes?
People tell me no. I don't quite believe them, but I am old enough and wise enough now to suspect that when winter next arrives, and I find myself in Wisconsin, I should plan on wearing a jacket and something warmer than flip-flops. I don't suppose they make open-toed winter boots, do they?