How Snow Can Give You A Warm Feeling

I’ve lived in Colorado most of my life, so I have to admit that my approach to snow is unconventional. OK, some would call it eccentric. In fact, many have called me rubber-room-crazy, right to my face, for the way I tend to dress when it’s snowing.

A few years ago I was outside my home in Denver, shoveling snow. Nothing noteworthy there. Except, in my case, the guy out shoveling snow was wearing shorts (the kind you’d see on guys working out in the gym), a t-shirt, and flip-flops. The facts were these: it was not very cold outside, I was exerting and working up a sweat, and they were my rubber, all-weather flip-flops, after all. But I still got some amused looks from neighbors driving by, and one neighbor actually took the time to bundle up and come outside to ask me if I was stark raving mad.

But that’s not the best/worst example. I was once pulled out of the airport security line in Munich, one snowy December day, for the express purpose of being laughed at (I was wearing my snow-shoveling clothes). Given the difference between my thoughts and those of society on the subject of winter wear, this derision was richly deserved, and I was only thankful they didn’t think I was a security risk. “Are you aware that it is snowing outside?” asked the tall security guard, with a German-accent laugh in his voice. He stopped all the security lines for a couple seconds, in fact, to make sure all his guard-buddies could see and laugh at the crazy stupid American. I bet it made their day, and gave them all something to tell their wives over supper. “Yes,” was all I said.

What I wanted to say (but wouldn’t say to a guy in a uniform with a gun) was this: “I got dressed in a warm hotel in Austria… in fact, given the weather outside, they had the heat cranked way up and I was the only one in the lobby who wasn’t sweating under several layers of clothing. I had to walk outside for maybe four seconds to get into an overly-warm car, where I remained for the two-hour ride to the airport and where I was the only occupant not sweating under coats and cloaks. I then had to walk outside for maybe twelve seconds (I found it refreshing) to get into a nice warm airport, where I’m the only one who doesn’t have to strip off four layers of clothing to go through your metal detector. Now I’m going to walk directly from the airport, down a jetway, into a nice warm airplane… where I will be the only one who’s actually dressed for the activity we will all then try to undertake for the ten-hour flight home (sleeping) and who doesn’t have to wrestle a heavy coat into and out of the overhead bin. Then, when I get back to Denver, I will spend thirty minutes walking through that nice warm airport to get outside, where it might be twenty degrees and snowing, but where I will have to walk maybe twenty seconds through the covered garage to get into my own fast-warming car. I will then fight the traffic and icy roads for an hour to get home, all the while in a nice warm car, which I will pull directly into my nice warm garage. So yeah, over the next several hours I might have a chance to spend as many as thirty-six seconds outside, where everyone else will be wearing a coat and I will be in shorts. What an idiot I am.”

I’ve learned that some things make perfect rational sense, but don’t make what you’d call “social” sense. So be it.

Today, I was similarly attired (though I was luckily wearing shoes) for my daily trip to the gym – and it’s snowing like crazy here. On the way home, on a not-busy country road, I did pass a lady whose car had slid into a   ditch  and who was being helped by an appropriately-gloved-and-jacketed man with a large truck and a tow chain. I pulled over and got out to help (I’m not sure I was much help, but I think I did help keep the car from sliding further into the  ditch  each time the Good Samaritan guy had to swing around for a better “grip”). “You’re wearing shorts!” the lady said as I got out of my vehicle. “Yep,” I replied, “I’m just coming from the gym.” That explanation seemed to make me less crazy, especially since I was there to help, and as I was grunting under the weight of her car the lady did ask if I was glad I’d been to the gym already. We got her out, there were thanks and smiles all around, and we all drove away in our separate cars. I dare say the day had warmed up for all of us.

The incident reminded me of the still-mentioned Blizzard of ’82 in Colorado, when I was living in a small town under three feet of snow on Christmas Eve. A few of us got out (I was young and dumb, and wore jeans and a coat) and shoveled about a half-mile of street to get a visiting lady to the main road (and, hopefully, to the airport). We weren’t going to wait for help – the snowplow drivers were all overworked anyway – we just helped ourselves, and each other. That’s America. We have courage and kindness… and unconventional ways of thinking. We are the kind of folks who aren’t afraid to start a business, or risk an investment, or shovel a street by hand. And even when we do the unconventional (“crazy”) stuff, there’s usually some kind of sense to it somewhere, and if you don’t want to take the time to find the sense in it, we don’t care what you think about us anyway. You’ll probably  ditch  your car at some point, and we’ll be there (in jeans or shorts) to help you out.

Some people call that a form of insanity. Others call it a form of inspirational leadership.

If my unconventional views toward winter attire have brought laughter (even derisive laughter) to neighbors and security guards and hotel guests and airline passengers and stranded motorists in several countries, I can only be thankful! After all, as a stage actor and humor writer, I’ve always wanted to make people laugh. Laughter is good, and it helps the digestion. The way I see it, snow always brings with it a chance to share warm feelings with my fellow humans. I don’t mind being the clown, and I don’t mind being the guy in the  ditch  giving your car a mighty, helpful heave. It’s good for me to do something good for you.

Any Chance To Help Others Is A Big Help To You

by Michael D. Hume, M.S.