Ultimate optimists

In the last few years, I’ve noted a small but noticeably growing trend of people wearing no winter clothing on the coldest of winter days – trousers and shirts, sure, but no coat of any kind. I usually see them in shopping centre car parks, but have noted them in other places as well.

Because they used to be rarer sights than they are now, my theory used to be that they were just running a quick errand and were in a hurry. Now I see them – almost always male and usually younger, I should point out – often enough that I think it may be reflective of a time where many simply never go outdoors for more than a run to the store for something, some of them perhaps thinking of frigid weather as a sort of annoying feature of the non-online game of life that never needs to be thought of in terms of anything but several minutes.

I’d be willing to bet that some of them don’t even own a coat – I mean, why would you not take five seconds to don one if you did own one, other than thinking, “How could there possibly be any consequences of dressing for balmy weather in the dead of winter?”

My puzzlement with this has only a little to do with the old admonition to “Bundle up or you’ll catch your death of pneumonia!” It’s more to do with the baffling optimism of someone who’s totally unprepared to spend more than a few minutes in an environment where the phrase “died of exposure” crops up with fair frequency in news reports. Will their car never break down or slide into a ditch? Will they never lock themselves out of their house? And will their mobile’s battery never hit 0%? To me, it’s akin to parents refusing to vaccinate their kids, rationalising “Oh, what are the chances they’ll ever get exposed to that. Anyway, we bleach every surface in our house and that will protect them just fine.” Such levels of optimism imbue the world with a gentleness and harmlessness that, on average, it simply doesn’t possess.

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2 thoughts on “Ultimate optimists

  1. parislights says:

    Oh you are referring to the new super humans, lalo !

    These people have gotten their tolerance of cold down to such levels that they can do ths “living in the tropics” look. They have also read the literature and know that we don’t catch pneumonia nor the common cold because our hair or our feet are wet.

    Several recommendations if ,on the off chance, you too might be considering this winterizing of mind and body. One : lower thermostat to 50.
    Two: open the window in your bedroom
    Three : work on building mind images of Tahitian sands
    Four : running as in preparation for marathon

    Voila. Then you too will be able to pull this new super human too !

    Best from Paris !

    • lalmon says:

      To avoid frostbite, you just need to know that protective clothing is intended for and needed by only the weak.

      All the authorities have so many helicopters these days that emergency situations are fully their responsibility – and their delight. Therefore, one litre of water, a pocketful of trail mix, and your mobile will be more than sufficient for two to three days of winter mountain hiking or summertime traversal of Death Valley.

      In the kitchen, those in the know assume handles are cool and perch large pots of boiling water on the narrow edge of the sink. This keeps them on whatever toes they might have left.

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