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Musing: Wobbly Weather Wardrobe
My timing couldn’t have been better. As soon as I completed the installation of my weather station last week, autumn temperatures arrived here in Asheville. Our chilly mornings dropped into the 30s by the end of the week. Some of the highest elevations even saw snow flurries and bouts of sleet.
Yes, time to forego shorts and t-shirts and break out warmer clothing. For the mornings, at least.
Not the afternoons which remain pleasant.
Those changeable temperatures make dressing properly for the day quite the challenge. Bundling up in the morning but staying cool in the afternoon. How do you handle wobbly weather wardrobes?
Before I jump to this week’s musing, though, let me say a quick word about Hurricane Ian. After hammering Cuba, that beast of a storm struck Florida with a fury rarely seen. The images of destruction astound me. The loss of life saddens me.
But Ian wasn’t done. It slipped into the Atlantic, regained strength, and crashed ashore just south of my old home in Murrells Inlet, SC, pushing an historic wall of water in front of it. My former neighbor posted a video showing the storm surge rising far higher than Isaias, completely submerging our lots and surrounding my former house with a salt water moat. Places I rode my bike and walked the dogs were inundated. It’s hard to look at those pictures and videos and comprehend how bad it was.
Somehow, through it all, what Ian didn’t do was come to Asheville and dump inches of rain on us. These tropical systems have a history of flooding our rivers, causing mud slides, and uprooting trees, so we’re as wary of them in our mountains as we were on the coast.
The dire predictions from earlier in the week didn’t materialize. The storm passed well east of us. We received less than an inch of rain and a gentle breeze.
What rain did fall, though, was icy. I guess it was our first real taste of the winter to come.
Early in the week, our lows hovered around 50º. Sometimes just below and sometimes just above. A little cooler than summer but not by much. I steadfastly remained in my shorts and t-shirt for our morning, three-mile dog walk.
EPPIL, my Ever Patient Partner in Life, however, refused to pretend it was still summer and wore a jacket and toboggan.
A Word About Toboggans
Another slight diversion here in this week’s Meandering Musing—a toboggan is a knit hat, not a sled. At least, that’s true here in the Southern U.S.
Linguists explain that the word comes from the French tabagane which acquired the word from Algonquian word thapaken. No matter how you look at it, the word historically meant sled.
Somehow, though, we Southerners looked at people sledding in cold, snowy weather and noticed they were wearing knit hats to keep their heads warm. We, in the great Southern way, took to calling them toboggan hats. That took too much effort, so we shortened it.
And since we don’t have much need for sleds, but do like to keep ours ears warm, we all have toboggans for warmth even if we rarely need toboggans for sledding.
Makes perfect sense, right? Consider this a bonus Spectacular Vernacular for the week.
Back To Our Cooler Weather
Thursday morning, we woke to see the new weather station announcing a 40º start to the day. I decided to surrender to the inevitable and dressed in long pants, a sweatshirt, and a toboggan. A hat, not a sled.
During our stroll along the greenway, we noticed most of the other neighbors had made the same decision. Jackets, coats, sweaters, and, yes, toboggans abounded.
Except for one regular walker. As he did every morning, a gentleman briskly sauntered toward us with his walking stick in hand while wearing shorts and a t-shirt. He dressed as if it was a July day.
“Good morning,” he called out.
“Good morning,” we replied. “How are you?”
“A little chilly. May need to add a jacket if it gets any colder, but I refuse to do so before it drops below 40º.”
I glanced at my watch, which reports the weather from that fancy station I installed. The result made me smile, and I couldn’t help but pass along the news. “It’s officially 39º.”
“Brrrrrr.” He shivered and walked away. I wonder if he will be bundled the next time we see him. Or, perhaps, he hibernates and doesn’t emerge again until spring.
Now he wasn’t the only one in shorts. We have four schools in our neighborhood and many of the kids walk each day. The teen boys who passed us wore shorts and t-shirts. They will continue to do so as the temperature drops even further. They do, of course, because they have to meet the Teen Boy Cool rules.
I remember adhering to the Teen Boy Cool rules when I was that age. Assert your individuality and independence by thumbing your nose at adult conventions—and dress the same as every other teen boy.
Great plan, except they all wear dark socks today. When I was a teen—back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth—we wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing dark socks with shorts. Those were officially old man socks. We only wore cool socks. White tube socks you pulled up to your knees so that the bright stripes were visible to everyone.
Ah, the 70s. That decade of fashion and decorum.
Sadly, I think I have to give credit to today’s generation for being better dressed. But our music was better.
In fairness to those teens, though, they are dressed appropriately to walk home from school. When we do our afternoon dog walk, I’ve forsaken the long pants and sweatshirt for shorts and a t-shirt. And no toboggan—sled or hat.
No colored socks, either. Nor do I wear those white tube socks. Don’t want to out-cool the kids, of course.
Not that there is much chance of that.
Enjoy the Story? Try a Novel
If you enjoyed today’s musing, please consider reading one of my novels. Each standalone book tells the story of big lives in a small town, ordinary people facing extraordinary challenges.
Gratuitous Dog Picture: Pumpkins Have Arrived
With the calendar turning to October, our Halloween decorations are going up. Landon is quite intrigued with the arrival of pumpkins. Maybe just a wee bit too intrigued.
On The Website This Week
Spectacular Vernacular Word of the Week: Kerfuffle
August survey results: Pumpkin Spice: Love It Or Leave It?
The September survey results about your favorite scary monsters are currently being tabulated and will be shared in the monthly newsletter and next week’s Monday Musing. The October survey will open up as well. Stay tuned!
Dress warmly… or cooly… or appropriately for the weather. And wear a toboggan! See you next Monday.
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