It’s funny how different bodies react to weather this time of year. Take a gander next time you’re in a public parking lot and study folks wandering to and from vehicles. You’ll see eccentric sorts wearing Bermuda shorts and flip-flops like it’s the middle of July. Someone else will cruise from warm store to vehicle in jeans and a sweater-- lips and hands rosy with not a goose bump to indicate it’s below freezing. The woman shuffling to the car parked next to you might be covered Eskimo style so that you can’t tell a human is bundled inside that ski mask, sweatshirt, parka, snow pants, and boots. During your watch, you’ll see every fashion variable in between.
Each family has a mixture of these thermo-types to establish the range. Polar avoiders hate being cold and layer outdoor wear from top to bottom even on mild days. Auto-insulated folks, on the other hand, travel with a heavy coat in the car in case of bad weather but actually put it on only once or twice a winter. As long as those individuals wear long sleeves and pants, they don’t mind the cold wind’s bite, and they stride happily in brisk breezes that cause flags to fly at a 90 degree angle.
How two people with the same genes can have entirely different internal thermostats is a mystery, but it happens often. Schoolteachers see examples daily. Siblings arrive at school-- one in a tee shirt and no jacket while brother or sis sports long johns peeking from edges of multi-layered sweatshirts and jeans.
Knowing this, remain alert to see who thrives in frigid weather. These folks are never happier than finding themselves somewhere that cool dawns and dusks require folks to wear jackets. Once temperatures go arctic, these individuals are in hog heaven. They come home from hunting, sledding, or feeding cattle with fogged up glasses, icicles hanging from eyebrows or mustaches, and Rudolph-style noses. As they peel away outer layers of clothing, they complain the house is too hot at 68 degrees.
Polar avoiders need to take advantage of such friends when temps plunge. Those early shiverers can stir up soup and cinnamon rolls while frostbite addicts cover heads with Stormy Kromer caps, zip insulated Carhartts, slip into heavy-duty mittens, and grab a big shovel. After an hour or so, the heat lovers can glance outside to see cleared driveways and evenly cut trails to garages and sheds. True cold devotees stay out long enough to scoop good size openings in the yard where pets can relieve themselves. They scrape snow and ice to the point wimpier loved ones could leave coats in the car because they won’t be outside long enough to need them.
This brings to mind a Wyoming road crewman. On a sizzling August day, he answered the question, “Do you prefer working outdoors in summer or winter?” After a moment’s thought, he grinned and said, “Winter. You can always add layers. In summer you’re limited to what you can take off.”