Friday, January 15, 2010

Quality coat time

I recently purchased a coat. Well it is more like a sleeping bag than a coat. I think the manufacturer even describes it as a sleeping bag with arms. It is puffy and extends all the way down to my ankles. I know that sounds extreme, but EVERYONE in Chicago has this coat (or a similar version). Seriously, I counted two girls at my CTA stop (in the hood no less) who had this coat. The worst was six in my train car alone. Okay I know, by getting this coat I have officially joined the rest of the sheep herd…but damn it I’ll be a blissfully warm sheep.
Due to Chicago’s 10% sales tax, I looked for this coat while at home in Nebraska over the holidays. Every clothing or outdoor wear store I checked didn’t have the “floor length” version I needed. Yes, needed, not just wanted. I would ask sales clerks if they carried that version and they would give me the most confused look. One even asked me how I would drive in it. Um…I don’t. That was the main difference I noticed between Omaha and Chicago…the walking in the cold factor. In Nebraska, you walk from the parking lot to the entrance. In Chicago, you walk five blocks, wait on the train platform while the wind is blasting you, then you walk another four blocks. The whole ankle length does make me look like a walking marshmallow man, but it is a definite improvement on my quality of life.
Sadly Chicago is currently in a heat wave. We have had temperatures in the 30’s for the last couple of days. I so desperately want to wear my coat that I am actually thinking about stripping down to a swim suit. I’m not the only one, people in town are going nuts with the warmer weather. I saw a girl on the train platform wearing a short skirt, fake ugg boots, and nothing else on her legs. Yeah, no tights, no socks, no pantyhose, etc. NOTHING! I know it is warmer, but it is still nearly freezing out. Surprisingly, I saw this exact same look (nothing but bare legs) on one especially brutal single digit (with negative wind-chill) day. The girl’s legs were pink from the cold and all the people standing around on the platform kept looking at the legs and then looking at the girl to check to see if she was retarded. One cold night, I snapped this picture of a seriously deluded father. His son was bundled up from head to toe (so you know he knew it was really really really cold outside). I wonder if the father thought “okay now that I have bundled up little Johnny, let me throw on some shorts”. I literally chased him down a street trying to capture a photo without alerting him. People in the restaurants lining the street would see me jogging then snap a picture, jog snap, dodge snap. Then they would see what I was photographing and burst out in laughter.


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