I feel like if I were to remember one thing about 2014 it wouldnâ€™t be me finishing my thesis (GODDESS PLEASE LET ME), graduating, travelling, whatever . . . it would be surviving not only the first polar vortex but the second one.
The first day since â€˜78 that the University of Michigan has cancelled classes. We all know this but BOOM. This is/was exciting. I had a four day weekend. I went out on a Monday.
Besides these obvious points, however, there are some other things that I cannot get out of my mind: snow/cold/chill protective outfits. In short, peopleâ€™s clothing is heinous. I am (not) some queen heckling on the side of the road, but people have gone absolutely off the cliff.
1. It is -40 degrees.
I have been sick for months, and just got sick again. Iâ€™m feeling better but I know I need to cover my mouth. I have maroon skinny jeans on, a maroon winter coat with fake fur, I have a maroon baseball cap on with accompanying scarf and red headphones-as-ear-muffs. I have layers of glasses to protect my eyes and gloves on gloves on gloves. And then someone jogs by me in a spandex body suit and thatâ€™s it. And then someone saunters back from the gym in shorts. And then I see someone model walk with their coat WIDE OPEN as they cross the street. I donâ€™t know who yaâ€™ll are but Iâ€™m judging you. You might feel like you can stand the cold but your frozen flesh-skin-ice and I think differently. I try so hard not to judge or shame people for what they do or do not wear (because really why should I) BUT ITS SO DAMN COLD I GET COLDER JUST LOOKING AT YOU.
2. It is 30 degrees.
Iâ€™m healthy and have stopped putting a scarf over my face, and so people now walk on the same side of the road as me and donâ€™t point as I walk down the sidewalk at them (apparently I look intimidating or eccentric as all get out). I have a reasonable amount of clothing on (basically the same thing as the -40 degree weather but this time Iâ€™m less hunched over and I might be singing/breathing the cool air in). And then someone walks by in a 7-layer black body suit and a yellow neon hat pulled OVER THEIR EYES. Hello?
3. It is 0 degrees.
Itâ€™s 11:30 at night and I leave my coat in the car; I have just arrived in Ypsi for the drag show. I start to run down the road at full speed in my skinny jeans, polka-dot top, necklace flying up and hitting my face, both hands on the hair to protect it from frizzing out . . . and then I slip. Iâ€™m screaming now, full volume, as onlookers, wrapped up in 15 layers, point at the disheveled queer sliding his way into the bar. We all canâ€™t be winners.
The Polar Vortex has come and gone and come again. Each time we are surprised and we cope differently. But one thing remains constant: no one knows how to dress when its negative-youâ€™re-going-to-die-temperature. And that is a subtle art of surviving in Michigan. Because at least if youâ€™re frozen, you can still be one hot mess.
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