Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Last week we had a succession of days of great weather—balmy temperatures, sunshine, no rain. On Friday that ceased to be. I wore my heavy coat that day and was glad for it. There were even a few snow flakes in the morning. The way they were coming down when I first saw them, they looked rather threatening. I thought sure there would be a good covering of snow before the day was over.

The fact that that did not happen does not change a simple fact: overcoat weather is with us. It will not be constant, to be sure, but over the next four months or so we must be prepared for its occurrence. Overcoats and boots must be kept handy. For winter weather in this area, I prefer to wear layers of clothing. No matter what the morning temperatures, the weather will vary during the day. I can shed or add garments accordingly and, hopefully, stay reasonably comfortable.

The extra clothing that people wear in wintertime brings about a phenomenon I did not understand for a while. I used to commute by bus, first to school and then to work every day. The busses seemed to be more crowded in the winter. Colder weather might have brought on some increase in ridership but there was another, simpler reason for the crowded condition. It was explained to me that people are one or two inches wider in the winter because of overcoats and other warmer items of dress. Maybe they also put on weight in the winter to help insulate them from the cold. Why not? Bears do.

The subject of weight brings on another interesting question concerning being weighed in the doctor’s office. Are the scales in doctors’ offices calibrated to account for the weight of the clothing one is wearing? And in the winter, are they adjusted to allow for heavier and more articles of clothing? And what is the average increase in weight for the heavier clothing or, for that matter, what is the weight for summer clothing? And does that vary for men and women? For children? I really don’t know. I’m going to have to find out.

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