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.