09 January 2009

Wearing Layers

Many years ago as we celebrated our first anniversary after moving to Maine, my husband and I decided to drive up to a local pizza place for a casual dinner. It was a cold night - a few degrees below zero - so we dressed warmly.

For my husband, that means layers. LOTS of layers. After spending several of his high school years in Iceland, he is the king of dressing warmly. In fact, half of one of our dressers is dedicated to his very extensive collection of thermal underwear.

I'm not talking out of turn here, because he is very proud of his collection. He has bought thermals from all the best Maine has to offer - L.L. Bean, Reny's, and of course now, Cabela's. He has everything from cotton to polypropylene to silk. Suffice it to say, being warm is very important to him.

This is a man who wears jeans all summer long - even on the hottest days. He begins wearing the layers in early October, as soon as the temperature drops below 40 degrees. And this isn't an outdoorsy guy. He wears his layers indoors. By the fire. While enjoying hot drinks.

I have my own collection of layers, but the reality is, I HATE wearing layers. Don't get me wrong, layers have their place, but I really only wear them if I'm going skiing, sledding, or sometimes if I have to shovel snow. And then, only if it's very windy. Maybe it's a touch of claustrophobia; I'm not sure. Either way, layers make me feel confined. As long as I have outer wear, such as a coat, gloves and such, I just dress in regular clothing.

But back to the story. On that fateful, cold anniversary, many Januarys ago, we left the pizza place to come home, and we saw that the thermometer on the local bank was reading -5 degrees fahrenheit. And it was windy. Our old jeep (which has long since died and gone to the boneyard) had marginal heat at best, so we took our two-wheel drive Ford Explorer. I might add here that we bought that SUV pariah in southern California, where such monstrosities are created. We weren't surprised when no one here would buy it - why would they? A two-wheel drive SUV? Why bother?

Anyway, on the way home, we decided to go for a little joy ride. We drove down a local dirt road next to a pond to - you know - see the reflection of the stars. It was too cold to get out of the car or stop for long, so we turned around to go home. But it was a narrow dirt road. As we did about a seven-point turn, trying to get going around the other way, we backed up too far into the ditch next to the road. It was full of snow and ice, and in only moments, we were stuck fast.

We tried all the usual tactics of putting towels, boards, and anything else we could find, behind the back wheels, but nothing worked. Soon, an ATV showed up, carrying two mildly drunk guys. They got a big laugh when they saw us, but they were also very kind and wanted to help. We had some rope in the back of our car, so they hooked it up and tried to tow us out. Didn't work. They laughed some more. They kept trying, but long after we knew it wouldn't work, they still wanted to try. It was pretty funny, but it was also very cold. And did I mention, windy?

Finally, we decided to walk home and bring our old jeep back. Maybe it was strong enough to tow out the wimpy, two-wheel drive Explorer. This whole drama was taking place only about 3/4 of a mile from our house, but as I said, it was cold. We had coats, hats, gloves, and such, but guess who was wearing layers and who was not? Yeah. Shut up.

When we got home, after thawing out for a bit, I re-dressed myself - in multi-layers this time - and we drove back to the scene of the drama with our jeep. The ATV guys were waiting for us, still laughing, and still offering their help. Just about the time we got it hooked up with a chain, a police car came driving slowly down the road. Apparently, someone in a house nearby had seen (and heard) all the commotion and wanted the local law enforcement to check it out. With all the laughter of the ATV guys (not to mention the revving of their ATV motor), I'm sure the neighbors thought there was a serious party going on down by the pond.

The cop soon saw the reality of the situation. He noted our California plates, discovered that our SUV was only two-wheel drive, and chuckled. He offered to help out, but it wasn't a very enthusiastic offer, as I think he was quite entertained by watching our struggle. Amazingly, the jeep pulled the Explorer right out of the ditch, and we soon drove home to live happily ever after.

But I still hate wearing layers.

The end.

Copyright © 2009 - Paulla Estes

4 comments:

Connie said...

I think I remember you telling me that story... I thought the "Mainers" got you out though. Good story as we were walking to Taco Surf tonight, Bob said "it's freezing and I should have worn my hoodie for warmth" Nicole pulled up the hood on his North Face shell that he puts layers under all the time. Not sure he would survive in Maine.

kris said...

This story really made me laugh. And I agree with your husband on the layers. I even wear them out here in the CA during winter time.

I like to be warm!!!

LG said...

I have been following your blog for some time now and really enjoy the (almost) daily readings.

This one had me chuckle, 'cos even though I live halfway across the world in a sunny spot, I lived for a year in NH and came close to freezing myself once on an outing in the evening, to town with my roomie. By the time we got home (school) we thought we had frostbite, but we survived!

I've always been careful of the cold since!!

jessica said...

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thanks for sharing information with us...

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Jessica
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