We Meet Again

After two weeks of ideal fall weather, winter bared its fangs.  So this morning I threw on my coat and hopped into my car, at which point I was reminded of a dilemma that has tortured me for years, a dilemma I completely forgot about while living in New York:  I’ve never understood the proper role of coats in places where people drive cars.

I’m not talking about situations where you’re going to be spending a lot of time of outside:  skiing, shoveling snow, telling your wife that you’re going to the temple and then going to a park and making a snow fort by yourself.  You need a coat for those, duh.  I’m talking about a more common situation:  You’re going somewhere that will entail leaving your house, walking a few feet to your car in the garage or on the street, driving in your car to wherever your going, parking, and dashing from your car across a few feet of parking lot to your destination.  In most cases you spend maybe 3 minutes outside.

So why do you need a coat?  Well, for those 3 minutes you’re outside.  It can be a really cold 3 minutes without a coat.  But isn’t taking your coat with you to your car, and then taking it off when you get in the car, and then putting it on while you run across the parking lot, and then taking it off once you get inside kind of a lot of trouble just to avoid being cold for 3 minutes?  So why not just put it on and leave it on while you’re in the car to cut down on the amount of trouble? Ha.  You are so stupid.  IF I LEAVE IT ON THEN I’M WARM FOR THE FIRST FEW MINUTES UNTIL THE HEATER STARTS BUT THEN AFTER THAT I’M SO HOT FOR THE REST OF THE DRIVE I WANT TO KILL MYSELF.

And that’s if I’m driving alone.  If Melissa is in the car wearing a coat is out of the question.  Like any couple Melissa and I have some natural differences that we’ll overcome over the years with patience and a lot of hard work.  But our difference in temperature isn’t one of those kinds of differences.  Our difference in temperatures is such that we pay for our gym passes on a month-to-month basis because we’re not sure if we’ll be divorced 30 days from now.  if I’m comfortable then Melissa has to find a tauntaun, kill it, slice open its belly with a lightsaber, and climb in.  If  Melissa is comfortable then I have to be hooked up to an IV.

Our temperature difference is a big deal.  Or at least it is now.  It never has been, since in New York our apartment temperature was beyond our control and we hardly ever drove around in a car.  Those days are over.  We’re in a car a lot together, and we haven’t yet developed a productive and mature way of bridging our difference, so we basically just each crank the heat knob from one extreme to the other while the other person isn’t looking.

Anyway, back to the the coat/car dilemma.  My experience in the last few days reminded me that I’ve always felt this way about the coat and the car.  Indeed, I remember arguing rather vociferously with my Dad about wearing a coat in the winter.  He insisted I always wear one, but once I got old enough to start going places without him I also started wearing one in the house right before I left and then hiding it in the garage on my way out.  I don’t think it was about looking cool, although as I think about the places (I.e. Mervyn’s) where we were allowed to buy coats, that’s a real possibility.  I think it was more about the coat/car dilemma.  Either way, I often chose not to wear one, in direct defiance of parental decree.

But one time I got caught.  Ryan and I had gone to Layton Hills Mall.  We probably hit Hammond Toys so Ryan could shop for some new Dungeons and Dragons paraphernalia, and then we probably went to ZCMI, to see my super hot girlfriend who worked there.  She was several years older.  You don’t know her.  She goes to a different school.  In Idaho.  I met her over the summer.  Friend of my cousin’s.  Anyway, maybe we topped off the night with a meal at Taco Maker.  Hard to say.  Regardless, we returned home, and somehow we got busted.  I don’t remember how.  Decent chance Kook ratted us out – not because he stood to benefit from ratting us out, but more likely because he was a terrible, angry person in those days.  Unhappy at our disobedience, our Dad meted out a punishment that I have to admit was kind of awesome:  he forced us to wear our coats for the rest of the night, inside the house.

Now, this wouldn’t have been that big of a deal under normal circumstances.  But on this particular night my sister, Andrea, was having a party.  Filled with high school girls.  Andrea was always cool about letting us attend her parties, and I have to say that I always did pretty well at them.  I was pretty fearless in chatting up the cutest girl in the room, and I generally got a good response.  I now see that this was because I was the rare 9th grader who was as yet unmarred by puberty, and therefore more of a mascot then a potential suitor.  They hugged me and pinched my cheeks, and we both walked away from the encounter with entirely separate ideas as to the nature and eventual outcome of the relationship.

So we went down in our coats.  Big, chunky coats from Mervyn’s.  Just a couple of junior high kids at a high school party in their coats, hanging out, talking to the ladies.  Maybe Ryan showed them his new Dragon Sword cards, which enabled him to repel the fireballs of all but the most clever of wizards.  We got a lot of questions about the coats, and a lot of laughs with the answer.  It turned out to be a good little icebreaker, SO TAKE THAT DAD.

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17 Responses to We Meet Again

  1. Macy Bell says:

    I remember growing up my dad always carrying his fancy , dressy cashmere coat around. He rarely was wearing it. He always wore a suit to work , and he would have his dress coat perfectly draped over his arm walking to and from the car or work. Then he would place it perfectly on the passenger seat while he drove. If we were in the car we couldn’t touch or sit anywhere near that fancy coat. It was a nice one, and I swear it never got worn.

    I just had a big discussion with Rex this morning about wearing a coat to school. An ongoing issue with Rex and I. Coats are in the way for Rex. He plays football or soccer at recess and you can’t have a big bulky coat while you play sports. Which I sort of get. Anyway, I got him to wear a fleece…maybe you should think about picking up a nice fleece. Kind of a good in-betweener.

  2. Pam Lynn says:

    My husband and I are similarly ‘temperature challenged’. We finally solved this problem after numerous years of marriage when we purchased a car with a dual climate control option. Heavenly. And, we’ll never buy another car with out it.

    You have awesome parents by the way.

  3. Andrea W. says:

    You’ve just stumbled upon the very tip of the iceburg, my friend. Just wait until you have this dilemna 40 times a day with 2 or 3 toddlers. You grab their coats, buckle them in their carseats, get to the store, unbuckle them, bundle them up, bundle you up (if you care, usually you decide you’re carrying about 50 pounds of bundles so you figure you’ll stay warm), then walk through the parking lot, go inside the store, find a cart, and un-bundle everyone. Good times.

    My 7 year old son is fighting me on a coat big time and he has to walk a mile and a half to school in the cold.

    LOL about attending my party with big puffy coats. Great stuff.

  4. Andrea W. says:

    Oh, and Dad was kind of a master at coming up with creative consequences. As a parent, that’s an art I really appreciate now. Remember the time I kept being late to get home for dinner from my friend’s house? He made me go tell Mr. Mulcock (our next door neighbor) that I would never be late again. Pure genious, I was terribly shy with adults and there I was a 12 year old knocking on the neighbor’s door saying something like, “My Dad told me I had to come tell you that I will never be late for dinner again.” I’m pretty sure I wasn’t ever late again.

  5. Jason says:

    while Nichole and I have encountered temperature problems in the car — our WWIII is in bed. She’ll don a down comforter in summer, while I sleep on top of the covers… now that fall has arrived, she is a thermonuclear reactor and I occasionally wake up with 2nd degree burns from above mentioned reactor. I hate sleeping hot — it’s got to be cool, like the other side of the pillow. This makes snuggling difficult. I want to do it on top of the covers, she under in her volcanic hellish lair. We’ve been married almost 14 years and I love my hot latin love machine.

  6. Katherine (Foulger) Lewis says:

    Thank you. I needed a good laugh. And, I hear ya. I thought the same thing while living in England. Why do people in Utah need coats? I also thought that I never want to hear anyone complain about a cold winter who owns a car. When you have to walk everywhere you go, you know cold.

    p.s. You shouldn’t have moved so soon. We’re still enjoying beautiful, warm, crispy, not-too-cold-that-you-need-a-coat weather here on the east coast.

    Oh, Andrea – your grocery store trips sound like my worst nightmare. I thought one infant in a car seat was bad. That settles that…Lauren is and forever will be an only child. I hear they’re making a comeback anyway.

  7. Eliza says:

    I am crying I’m laughing so hard. The whole 30 day gym pass/divorce, mall scenario and punishment is KILLING me. I think I’ll do consequences like that just for the pure comedic/story telling value. just think of dad’s point of view watching his two goofy sons walkin around in winter coats at their older sisters party mixin it up. Genius. pure genius.

  8. N Whiting says:

    hey now! I have chastised Jason for taking this to some weird PG13/T.M.I level, so Davis I apologize for the Whitings muddling your blog. And I defend my body temperature, because everyone knows going to bed with sweatpants, a tee shirt, an XL 10-year-old Champion sweatshirt and striped wool logging socks is HOT. In all senses of the word. .

  9. Ben Pratt says:

    LOL all around. Good show. Having moved from WA to AZ I’m always forcing myself to NOT grab a rain jacket. Even so it is cooling off. We have lows in the 60s this week. BRRR!

  10. Jay Mu says:

    Was my dad Dave really that scary Andrea? Did the Bell’s often use going to the Mulcock’s house a punishment? I can understand it I guess…

  11. Andrea W. says:

    LOL, Jeff – how are you? No, your Dad wasn’t actually scary or mean at all (which is why my Dad sent me to him), it’s just he was an adult man, a little on the quiet side, which translated into very akward and scary for me, an akward embarrased 12 year old girl. I do remember he got a kick out of my punishment. And, no, going to your house was definitely not a regular punishment – you guys had waaaaaay better food 🙂

  12. Oh crap, this is way too funny! I can’t even pick a favorite line, wayyyy too many laugh out loud ones. Ok fine, I’ll take a stab at it: IV, Mervyn’s, tauntaun (by the way, who knows the names of those things? BUSTED Star Wars nerd!), ZCMI, dad’s punishment, and your working the ladies. Whew.

    I don’t want to tell Zack about this post because it gives him ammo against me in his argument against wearing a coat slash letting our kids go out in the cold without a coat, since HE’S never cold. Seriously, this is one of my fav posts ever.

  13. Rebecca Bell says:

    soooo funny. i totally get your point. i think i’ve been the brunt of some serious looks in your family for not having insulated, lined, no-frost jackets for my kids when we used to come to UT. i maintain that kids just don’t feel the cold like adults do- maybe they don’t have as many nerves??? either way, none of mine have ever gotten frostbitten, so if we’re going to be outside for less than an hour, forget about getting them all suited up– too much work.

    oh, and christian and i have also pulled the “just crank the heat knob from one extreme to the other while the other person isn’t looking.” hasn’t turned out well for us. he just tells me i need to wear leggings, a jacket, and carry a blanket whenever we go somewhere in the car.

  14. Christian says:

    Wow, so so true. I’ve always been confused about this. People complain about how they hate winter cause it’s so cold. I ask these people 3 questions:

    1. Is your job an outside job?
    2. Do you live in a refugee camp?
    3. Do you live before 1100 A.D.?

    If the answer to all the above is “No,” then their complaints about cold just don’t make no sense.

    Reba, our only problem is that you wear flip-flops and other shoes without socks during cold times. So when we’re driving you expect your feet to receive a continuous blast of 95 degree air. This makes me uncomfortable.

  15. Ali says:

    oh man i hate the car in the coat situation. but i actually ran into a different problem while living in UT inbetween my NY days. My coat is this really great thick wool coat I got in NY, but when I got to UT i realized i couldn’t bend my arms in it at all, I couldn’t even lift my arms to the steering wheel. it was for NY street walking only, as all good coats are. So the coat in the car was not even an option for me. On really cold mornings I would lay it over my shoulders like a fancy 65 yr old. try that.

    macy, i remember dad doing that. crazy. times have changed..all he seems to wear these days are golf gear coats with AAPC labels on them.

  16. Braden says:

    Hilarious post, Dave. This is vintage, quintessential Davis writing. Well done. I am amazed at how much you can pack in to a post. Dad was a genious at the creative consequences. Ange, I forgot about that trip to the Mulcocks. However, I maintain that having me sleep in the garage after I drove through the garage door is the zenith of Dad’s creative punishment powers.

  17. Slade says:

    Try strapping Lyla to the roof of your car while driving. That should cool you off while warming up Melissa. Perfect balance. No more arguments.

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