I will say one thing about winter: vanity fades faster than a late summer burn, it cannot recover until the snow melts and the spring flowers bloom.
At least it fades in people over 30. Younger people, men and women, still seem to think it’s important to look stylish no matter the weather. One day they will find out how wrong they are. When the temperature drops into the teenage years, being fashionable is as important as guessing the Wordle: nobody cares but you.
I remember being young and vain enough not to wear a hat during a blizzard because I didn’t want it to flatten my hair, but I got over it when I realized that warm ears beat straight hair any day of the week.
Times have not changed. I see many young people wearing those fashionable and expensive ripped jeans, the ones with the holes that go up to their hips, while trying to look like pants with good ventilation and snow storms are a good idea. And they will learn.
There’s also a trend for younger guys to prove how tough they are by wearing shorts, even when the mercury refuses to climb above -10. Sorry folks, that doesn’t prove you’re tough on the rest of the world. It just goes to show that you hopefully aren’t planning a career in anything involving logic because you seem to have some serious judgment issues.
After the last snow storm, my husband went up on the roof to shovel the snow. He had to wear at least five layers of clothing. When he got inside, he looked like an irritated snowman. He wasn’t shoveling snow off our roof because he wanted to, but because otherwise we might end up with ice dams, a winter scenario we hadn’t considered before moving to the upper Midwest.
I am amazed by the fact that he shovels the roof and driveway with a mostly good mood. If I had to be the main shoveler, I imagine we’d get a lot of complaints from the neighbors, as well as accusations from the city. Sometimes I think he enjoys the challenge of 8 inches of snow. Other times I think the snow froze his brain.
Life in the North also brought to light a new form of male bonding/bragging. Instead of comparing zip codes or vehicles or job titles, people in our area talk about their snowblowers.
“What did you get?” I heard my husband ask a fellow snow blower. “Ariens? John Deere? internationally?”
This question is always followed by a long, often boring (for non-snow blowers) discourse about parachute controls, headlights and heated grips.
At the end of the conversation, both of them leave satisfied. The people of the Great North know what is important – to be able to fight back against Old Man Winter as much as possible.
I tolerated Mark’s snowblower fixation because he’s the one there in elemental time. Ultimately, the snowblowers we bought were too big and heavy for me to figure out how to start, much less use.
Until last year, when he gave me a little battery-powered snowblower “so you don’t feel left out,” I think that’s how he phrased it.
“I never felt left out,” I assured him. If anything, I felt I did my part by staying inside and making a hot cake for him when the snow was done.
But once the glove was handed to me, I got to know my new toy and even enjoyed blowing snow, even though my miniature snow blower can’t handle much more than the smallest and fluffiest of snowfalls. I feel like I’m doing something to protect our hearth and home from winter. Not much, but something.
It also gave me bragging rights and the ability to ask my friends what kind of snowblower they have. So far, no one has responded, but that’s okay. When you live in the north, one thing you can count on is a long winter with many, many conversations about the weather.