I do not like to be cold. You might think that this would make Flagstaff a strange place for me to live, and normally you would be right. Fortunately, however, I have a secret weapon that keeps me warm in all but the fiercest of weather: I wear clothes. Now, while I’m sure that some of you reading this are shaking your heads and saying “well, duh,” I’m equally sure that there are others of you who are instead shaking your heads and saying, “Hmm…maybe I should give that clothing thing a try.”
You know who you are: the women who are still wearing their stylish skirts and high heels, or the men who are still clinging stubbornly to their cargo shorts and flip-flops–even when there is 3 feet of snow on the ground. You are the ones who scurry out of your heated cars and mince your way into the coffee shop, somehow trusting in the gods of all things automotive that you will never have to walk (or rather, mince) more than ten feet at a time.
The reason I know all this is that, once upon a time, I was just like you. I was a mincer. Not that I have ever been accused of wearing anything stylish. No, the sad truth behind my perennial nomination for Frostbite Victim of the Year was much more mundane than a misguided sense of fashion. I was a mincer simply because I was stupid.
Looking back, I find it hard to explain my rationale for wearing a t-shirt in a blizzard–denial, perhaps. In any case, I’m sure you saw me: I was the one who walked around so hunched over from the cold that I looked like a warning for osteoporosis. I was also the one mincing along in the shorts with long underwear underneath, and the one in Birkenstock sandals and wool socks. (I don’t know why I thought wool socks would protect my scantily-clad feet; in order for the wool to function as a deterrent to Flagstaff’s usual post-storm icy slush I would have needed to strap an entire sheep to the bottom of each foot instead.) These were fashion faux pas that trump even Flagstaff’s famous “dirty hair and ugly shoe” look recently derided by a certain New York Professor Who Shall Not Be Named (although how anyone who comes from a city that thinks “tightly clenched buttocks” are a fashion accessory can malign another city’s look is beyond me).
Now though, I know better: I put on a down jacket, fleece gloves and a pair of Sorrels (or at least their Target equivalent) just to get the paper off of the porch. And now, when I walk through Flagstaff in the winter time, I do it fully upright. I fancy I look much like the “end” picture in one of those charts that show the evolution of man, especially since, mincing along behind me, for all the world like one of my less-evolved simian cousins, is my half-naked daughter, Clementine.
As you can imagine, being trailed by my own little throwback is somewhat galling to me–not because I’m afraid people will think my family is devolving, but because watching Clementine mince along behind me in a t-shirt is a painful reminder of just how clueless I used to be. It’s like watching a clip of “My Dumbest Moments Caught on Tape–Live!” with Clementine standing in as a younger me. (All she’d need is a Flashdance sweatshirt, an asymmetrical haircut and some blue mascara and the scene would be complete.)
With fathers and sons, they say it is the sins that are revisited. That would be fine with me–sins I can handle. But with mothers and daughters it’s a whole different set of issues: from the first spiral perm onward, it’s the stupidities that get revisited. Or, in our case, re-minced.