Gracias, El Nino

Today dawned already warm–even by April or May standards.

By mid morning, it was 68 degrees, with the promise of balmy 70s by early afternoon. I am not worried about the reasons why our winter has been warmer than usual. I am not worried about this summer-like day in January. Why not? Because the snow continues to fall in Colorado, and thankfully, I am not there (and neither are my kids).

But this crazy-warm day did beg the more-important question–what to wear? It is January, after all.

I called my girlfriend, whom I meet every Saturday for a walking journey through our city. This would be the same girlfriend who shares my addiction to Sweet Tarts, Dunkin Donuts coffee, Baskin-Robbins ice cream, and Dutch frites–most of which we consume on our marathon walks that allow us to enjoy these treats without too much guilt.

“I can’t wear shorts,” I told her. “I cannot bare these fish-belly white legs in January. Too soon.”

“Yeah, I know,” she agreed.

But when we met at our appointed time and place, there she was in shorts, looking cute as ever. There I was in sweats and a T-shirt, sweating already.

When it’s summer in January, no one knows what to wear (except my girlfriend). Here’s what I saw today:

–Babies bundled up in jackets and blankets and hats and layers of everything else because, their parents decided, it is January, after all. These poor babies were hot and uncomfortable.

–Teenagers trying to look cool in North Face outerwear, except they were feeling anything but cool or comfortable as they were steadfastly determined to keep their jackets on. They were sweating, too.

–Red ribbons and other assorted holiday decorations wilting and wrinkling as the summer-like sun beat down on front doors and stair railings. I imagine this is how holiday decorations must look in Sydney, Australia, since it really is summer Down Under.

–Young women, who, like myself, just couldn’t dig the shorts out of the out-of-season sections of their closets, and, instead, rolled up their jeans to look like capri pants. They were only mildly uncomfortable.

–Hordes, and I do mean hordes, of people jamming the entrance to the zoo, because that’s where people go on a warm day in January. Second most popular spot: the Botanical Garden.

–Waiters and managers of restaurants with long-ago stored outdoor seating, scrambling to clean off tables and chairs that haven’t been used in months. Patrons waited in long lines at many establishments to sit at these tables.

So, it figures, doesn’t it, that just as my shorts-clad girlfriend and my sweats-wearing self had settled in at an outdoor table to enjoy our weekly allotment of twice-cooked Amsterdam-style fries, a photographer appeared.

“Pretend I am not here,” she said as her motor drive clicked multiple frames a second.

Oh, sure, ignore her.

We tried. We talked about New Years parties, her job, my job, then the weather. But the weather talk made us notice the photographer again, so we gave up ignoring her and simply talked to her as she took her photos.

“Why aren’t you wearing shorts?” she asked me.

“Fish-belly-white legs,” I laughed. She laughed, too.

Gracias, El Nino, for a summer day in the dead of winter.

Gracias, El Nino, for taking the heat for global warming, at least today.

Gracia, El Nino, for one fantastic walk–hordes and all–on this sunny Saturday.






4 responses to “Gracias, El Nino”

  1. Ax Avatar

    It is 15C (27F) warmer than normal here. The trees are starting to bud and crocuses have started sprouting – about 3 or 4 months early!

  2. shakennotstirred Avatar

    I’d be more than happy to take some of that sun – it’s been raining and cold and raining and damp and raining for days. Blech!

  3. Julie Avatar

    I remember an unseasonably warm day like that in March. It was in the 70s. In Minneapolis, people go to the parks and lakes and hike. Since it had been a reasonably cold winter, the lakes were still frozen solid (with a little slush on top). There’s nothing like walking halfway around the lake and then across it. I was wearing shorts, a sweatshirt, mittens, and, of course, waterproof hiking boots (in pink leather). Such a fun memory.

    I don’t even know if it was nice this weekend; I’ve been sick and resting most of the time. All I know is that it’s going to be cold (30s) and damp all week.

  4. red Avatar

    Guess I’m lucky to live in a tropical latitude. Down here we never have “winter clothes” or “summer clothes”. They’re all just clothes and they all stay in the same place.