Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Sucky Winter-T-Shirt-and-Sandals Phenomenon

Every winter, I notice a strange phenomenon in Bend: People walking around in sub-freezing temperatures attired as if they were strolling to a beach in Kauai.

They'll be wearing shorts. Or a thin T-shirt. Or flip-flops. Or all three.

They're not always hot-blooded kids in their teens and 20s, either. The other morning, with the thermometer nudging 27 degrees, I went to the local Starbucks to get my daily coffee, biscotti and copy of the New York Times. There was a customer inside -- a man of at least middle age -- wearing shorts and Teva sandals. Such sights are not at all uncommon here.

I can come up with only four possible hypotheses:

1. These people are emigrants from California and they still haven't figured out that it gets cold in Bend in the winter.

2. They don't own any long pants, long-sleeved shirts or shoes.

3. No brain, no pain.

4. They simply refuse to admit that it's ever cold in Bend. (Bend residents are the queens and kings of denial.)

I'm leaning toward a combination of #3 and #4.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Leaning that way myself. How else to explain it?

Mindful, this from a guy that had Saf-tee covers on electrical outlets even when our children were HS aged but...

What if you had a wreck? A flat tire or ran out of gas? If you had to WALK to the next Exit? In sandals.

In '95 I was in a terrible wreck on I-5 coming into Tualatin. By the time the uh... 3rd and 4th car joined in the fun, there wasn't (1) unsmashed window in the whole vehicle. My knees ached for months as the entire dashboard was pushed into my legs.

But, I had an ex-tree thick, full, LEATHER bomber jacket on and wool cap. Dudes, I was in SHOCK! The firemen from TVF&R were great and joked w/ me to keep me calm until the door was pried open. But it was freezing and felt I was fading regardless! ( And is that GAS I'm smelling? )

In any event, can you -imagine- going thru that in basically "beach attire"? Sheesh. Nice settlement check, but you have to 'live' to 'collect'. Basics guys. Basics.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed this as well and chuckle. The other day, I was with a group of ladies at McMennamins and a man came through toward the Turkish baths wearing shorts, short sleeve top and flip flops. One of the ladies said "haven't you heard it's snowing outside". His remark was "I'm a Bendite". OMG! Super granola butte dork in town for some group bathing. All I could think was "no, you're a douche, looser".

blackdog said...

Yes, it's truly the Land of the Lame. Sometimes I think there aren't enough brains in all of Bend to bait a fish hook with.

Jack Elliott said...

Or, #5: Not everyone is as bothered by the cold to the same degree as most. It's a bell curve. What do you care how others dress for weather you find cold? Celebrate diversity, you bunch of grumpy old complainers.

blackdog said...

Hell, Jack, they're welcome to freeze their huevos off for all I care. I'm just remarking on a strange Bend/Central Oregon cultural phenomenon.

Jack Elliott said...

Well . . . okay. Treading very close to the gripe line, though.

blackdog said...

"Treading very close to the gripe line, though."

Gripe? Moi? Jamais, mon ami!

"It's a bell curve."

So is IQ distribution. And I think folks who go around in shorts and T-shirts in 27-degree weather are at the low end of both curves.

I wish them all a Happy Holiday anyway, or Merry Christmas, as they prefer.

Anonymous said...

Oh please? "Bell Curve"?

Unless you're an actual polar bear, virtually ALL of us succumb to hypothermia on a nearly identical timeline.

Physical conditioning may 'buy' you an extra minute or 'two'. I mean, were there 'any' Titanic survivors that -weren't- in LIFEBOATS?

Again, 'preferences' and... 'tolerance' aside, how many of you would actually want to go out of your way to help a stranded motorist getting a car out of a snow-filled ditch wearing shower shoes? His dying of exposure is only doing the gene pool ( and the 'rest' of us ) a favor. ( This isn't a sudden and 'freak' snowstorm in Florida, it's BEND for chrissakes )

Only possible exceptions would be wearing short sleeves/shorts etc. on your way to a flight going to Hawaii. Even at that, better to be -over- prepared. No one walks out the door thinking they'll be in an accident 'that' day. Whatever happened to "dressing for the weather" ( common-freaking sense ) and wearing clean underwear in case you wind up in the back of an ambulance?

Please feel free to not make 'your' lack of preparedness 'my' problem. Grow up guys.

blackdog said...

"Whatever happened to "dressing for the weather"

That reminds me of another interesting Bend phenomenon: Those people who don't wear T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops year-round regardless of weather seem to dress according to the calendar rather than the weather -- i.e., if the calendar says it's Memorial Day they'll wear shorts come hell, high water or 30-degree temperatures (all of which are possible in Bend on Memorial Day, or pretty much any day).

Anonymous said...

blackdog,

Funny, true, sad.

I suppose the real acid test here is, just try parading around K' Falls in the dead o' winter like you're Spring Break'n on South Padre Island and gauge the local's response?

After politely asking you "if you're feeling 'alright'?" ( they'll no doubt check if your car has Georgia lic. plates for a possible explanation for this bizarre and unwarranted behavior? )

Fashion Statement. Status Symbol. Indefensible. I object on the same unshaven, WGAF t-shirt wearing, "I'm RETIRED!" ballcap-sportin' grounds! If you don't think any more of your wife than 'that' ( why didn't you part company with her long ago? )

Jack Elliott said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jack Elliott said...

Hang on now. I have a tendency to skim posts when I am pressed for time and to shoot off my mouth without a full understanding of what the poster has written. So I would like to go back and re-read Blackdog's post because I did not get the impression that he was writing about people heading off, cross-country and on foot, to, say, Wickiup Reservoir dressed only in Crocs, khaki shorts, and a rayon shirt with a nice tropical print, but rather was complaining about people walking short distances downtown while dressed lightly, as certain irritable old men will gripe about how kids wear their hats backwards and their pants slung under their butts.

So let me take another look . . .

. . . nope, seems like it was folks downtown that prompted the post.

It's true that hypothermia will fell even the stoutest of us, but only the terribly frail are likely to be dropped when crossing the street from the Tower Theater to the Starbucks. At least at these temperatures. Siberia, now that's another story altogether. I hear that pee freezes before it hits the ground.

If I park in the downtown parking structure to take some books to Dudley's I am unlikely to dress very heavily and don't feel I am risking my life. Mrs Elliott, on the other hand, will dress as through she was an extra on a re-enactment of Rear Admiral Rbt. E. Peary's 1905-1906 expedition to the North Pole even when crossing from the house to her parked car. That's the "bell curve" of which I was speaking.

blackdog said...

"heading off, cross-country and on foot, to, say, Wickiup Reservoir dressed only in Crocs, khaki shorts, and a rayon shirt with a nice tropical print"

Oh, they probably do that too.

blackdog said...

"Mrs Elliott, on the other hand, will dress as through she was an extra on a re-enactment of Rear Admiral Rbt. E. Peary's 1905-1906 expedition to the North Pole"

A sensible woman, Mrs. E. Always figured she was the brains of the outfit.

Jack Elliott said...

"A sensible woman, Mrs. E. Always figured she was the brains of the outfit."

Make no mistake, she is.

Anonymous said...

JE,

Then I have no choice but submit to the logic of establishing a year-round nudist colony in Bend.

I grew up in Chicago. You quickly learn there's (3) things you don't e'f with. 1) The Mob. 2) The Cops 3) The Weather.

Frostbite is forever my friend. It doesn't get better w/ age and you don't outgrow it. I've had it twice, once playing ice-hockey and falling thru the ice. A second time in the Navy in Alaska. I've had exposure several times.

If you want to make light of it by asserting a narrow def. of the post and preclude natural outcomes ( like forgetting your keys or a missed connection leaving you stranded in the elements ) or further imply only Women & wussies need prepare for the weather, then fine.

Jack Elliott said...

On January 4, 2011, at http://oregongiftsofcomfortandjoy.blogspot.com/2011/01/cold-and-clear-mondays-snow-pictures.html, a Central Oregon grandmother writes, "Yesterday was so beautiful and so cold. It was only 2* at 8:00 a.m. and only warmed up to 22*, as far as I could tell. The sky was blue and the air was dry ... and believe it or not, a sweatshirt was good enough for me to run around town in. (I did keep my coat in the car; I'm not silly!)"

It's an outrage. I suggest that everyone here go to her website and tell her off.

blackdog said...

At least she wore a sweatshirt. I've been seeing Bendites walking around in 20-degree weather in T-shirts.

But why take along a coat and keep it in the car if she wasn't going to wear it? WTF good does having a coat in the car do? That's what strikes me as "silly."

blackdog said...

From the site Jack just quoted:

"Welcome to Mayberry, where the people are nice, the stories are positive, and the pictures are pretty."

Hoo boy.

I think what we have here is a clear example of another Bend Queen of Denial. If she ever felt cold she wouldn't admit it. That wouldn't be "positive."

Jack Elliott said...

"I think what we have here is a clear example of another Bend Queen of Denial."

Now Blackdog, I hope you leave that nice old lady alone. It's not polite to tell people who are happy that they should not be. It's mean-spirited and reduces the World Quotient of Happiness.

blackdog said...

Real happiness is great, but fake happiness sucks. People who achieve "happiness" by living in denial of reality annoy me, and if they expect me to do the same they infuriate me. It insults my intelligence.

As I said on Duncan McGeary's blog one time, "Don't hand me shit on a cracker and try to tell me it's caviar."

Anonymous said...

"but fake happiness sucks"

Right, especially when one is so clearly over-compensating to conceal their true feelings.

I loooove my job...?!???!

For the life of me I can't figure out what would be so miserable about just wearing your damned coat? Do ppl in Duluth, MN feel 'deprived' because they aren't sporting the Sammy Haggar-look in January?

Having your intelligence insulted is a daily event in the "Challenge Everything!" version of America. We should all be used to it by now. It's the all out frontal assault on common sense I can't stomach. Mayberry my frozen @ss.

Jack Elliott said...

"People who achieve "happiness" by living in denial of reality annoy me, and if they expect me to do the same they infuriate me."

Relax. No one's asking you to elevate your spirit in the face of adversity. Be grumpy, you're only making yourself miserable.

blackdog said...

"Do ppl in Duluth, MN feel 'deprived' because they aren't sporting the Sammy Haggar-look in January?"

No, but Duluth never claimed to be a frickin' "paradise."

blackdog said...

"Be grumpy, you're only making yourself miserable."

What you don't understand, Jack, is that I am NOT miserable. Or at any rate I am far less miserable than I would be if I forced myself to walk around grinning like an idiot all day and pretending that life is always wonderful.

Life is what it is. Some aspects of it are wonderful; some suck. In the long run, I don't think it makes anybody truly happier to deny the sucky parts exist. In fact, I suspect the tremendous expenditure of emotional and psychological energy needed to continuously maintain the facade of "positivity" makes many people unhappy.

Look at our rates of depression, suicide, violent crime, drug addiction, alcoholism, divorce, etc. and ask yourself if America's cult of "positivity" is really making Americans happy.

How does the saying go? "Everything is great and everybody is miserable"?

Anonymous said...

"forced myself to walk around grinning like an idiot all day and pretending"

Come to think of it, often it's the case we find someone has gone and done the unthinkable then everyone says; "But s/he always seemed so 'happy'?"

I agree, I don't believe all the self-help books in Borders is working a lick! The most depressing of which is when someone gets a hold of some new PMA-guru and in turn drives YOU crazy when you never exhibited any overt signs of being depressed!

I'm reading Keith Richards "Life" and it certainly is an education. Coming from a humble beginning ( post-war Britain ) he's truly grateful for the good fortune he's enjoyed. But make no mistake, the man is not delerious! He takes the good w/ the bad in stride and his responses to situations were generally appropriate. Yes, even complete MADMEN don't have to act 'Happy' if they're not feelin' it.

Jack Elliott said...

Well, ya gotta do what works for you. I try to strike a balance in myself and in the people I associate with somewhere between grinning idiocy and crabby sourpussicity. That sweet spot between the two extremes is likely different for everyone. I'm just tweaking you, and anonymous -- if that really is his name -- for being grumpy old men complaining about too many damn cute puppies in town.

blackdog said...

I have a copy of Richards's book and am looking forward to reading it. Gotta finish Volume I of the Mark Twain autobiography first. Should be an interesting contrast.

blackdog said...

Jack: You're right -- too damn many cute puppies in this town! Gonna get out my Glock and eliminate a few.

Jack Elliott said...

"...even complete MADMEN don't have to act 'Happy' if they're not feelin' it."

Just to be clear -- I think people need to be authentic. Acting happy when one is not is not healthy unless there is a good reason to do so, like if one is attending a wedding right after receiving a letter of intent to audit from the IRS. In such a case it's poor form to rain on someone else's parade, no matter how many shitty marriages I ... I mean /one/ ... has had.

I think that everyone has a temperament that they were born with. Some are happier than others, and not idiotically so -- they are just naturally happy. Others are less so. The unhappy tend to make fun of and try to tear down the happier, something that I think benefits no one.

blackdog said...

"The unhappy tend to make fun of and try to tear down the happier, something that I think benefits no one."

And the congenitally cheerful are constantly telling those less congenitally cheerful to "cheer up" and "be positive," which makes them feel it's their own damn fault they're depressed and thus makes them feel even more depressed. Since our society is so pervaded by the cult of "positivity" I think this is much more prevalent than the opposite case you cite.

Jack Elliott said...

You're right -- both sides are guilty of wanting the other to conform to their vision of "normal" temperament.

I wonder about motivation, though. Wanting others to be cheerier may come from a place of just wanting folk to be happier, although the wanter may be unaware that he or she is making the less-cheery less happy by urging them to act more cheery. As an introvert, I know how annoying it is to have loud extroverts try to urge me to be more like them. Used to make me feel shitty, as if there was something wrong with me for not wanting to be as loud and extroverted as them. Now I know I'm fine, know they haven't a clue how annoying they are, and seek quiet when I need it without guilt.

Wanting cheery people to be less so doesn't seem very useful though. I'm referring to cheery people who are not trying the teach the bear to dance, if you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Jack,

Kind of a play on words. Here we are 'discussing' it, and turns out the song 'Happy' ( Off of Exile On Main Street ) was the only song Keith Richards sang lead on and actually charted! I think it hit #4 here in the US.

Anyway ( without giving up too much ) Keith talks about his very first girlfriend, an Indian girl named Haleema. He called her 'Lee'. Long story short, they meet during -the- coldest winter in London since 1700's! ( 1962? )

Turns out ( yes! even though he later slept with Lee ) in looking back, he said it was those first innocent moments when they just met he 'now' treasures most.

And I desperately want to get back there myself. For however grumpy I am ( I'm infinitely more jaded ) Blackdog, there's so many revelations in the book, I've only been able to read a page or two at a time before I have to put it down, stand up, and walk it off.

You'll see yourself on every page.