Bundling Up

So far, I have not been adjusting all that well to the changing seasons, the onslaught on the much colder temperatures and the waning daylight. I feel cold most of the time, and seem to find myself needing to coerce my body into relaxing, but there’s resistance there as if my body is fighting to stay tense. This is part of the acclimatization process for me, although I think it feels particularly uncomfortable this year because the seasonal transition came rather abruptly and it has coincided with a time where I haven’t been feeling all that fantastic. It’s a good thing I’ve developed a thicker skin and much more indifference in terms of needing to feel like I don’t stick out; I have been wearing so many layers and winter accessories than everyone around me. Some brazen people have even felt compelled to comment on my apparent “overdressing” for the temperatures.

What I don’t quite understand is why some of us choose to mind our own business, while others see it as their responsibility (or a service they provide?) to inform others of the “weird” things they do. Isn’t it polite to just leave people alone when whatever oddities they may display—while may be bizarre—aren’t harming themselves or others? It’s much like how people make banal comments when I wear my orthopedic boot, which I do all the time out of the house because I have a chronic condition. “You have a boot on,” “Still in that boot?”, or “Looks like you have a boot!” I see no use in any of those unprovoked comments/questions. I’m sure it’s my socially-avoidant personality blended with my resentment towards being eternally stuck in the boot, but I find it aggravating when I inevitably receive at least one of these such pointless comments every time I’m out walking around. For years I believed I tend to look standoffish in public because my inside is screaming “leave me alone!” but apparently, there is usually a failure to translate this to my outward appearance; somehow, I look approachable and friendly. Go figure! Even the headphones I’m almost always sporting fail to function as a social deterrent.

There’s an important distinction here though in my brain. I like to be amicable and polite to most people I see in my town. I don’t know their names, but the daily cast of characters I see (save for a few with whom I have previously had negative experiences with) I greet with a cheerful “good morning,” “hi,” or head nod and smile, depending on my mood, what I perceive to be their mood, and the energy I can muster to be what I consider gregarious (though most would not even register as interacting!). I like to feel like I’m building to the sense of community in my neighborhood and town. However, the distinction between a simple, amiable greeting and a somewhat contentious, nosy comment is significant to me.

Anyway, as I bundle up like Randy in A Christmas Story, I’ll try to plaster on my smile and allow any annoying comments that “it’s not Siberia” or “did I walk here from the North Pole” irritate me. I have to do what my body needs, and I’m not going to let annoying people deter me from venturing out in the chilly air!

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