Girl, you cold!

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December 7, 2012 by MM

I think Dutch people are born with a force field around them that protects them from bad weather. Seriously; I don’t get it.

When I left for the gym yesterday afternoon, it was chilly but sunny: blue sky and just a few light clouds. When I walked from the gym to the grocery store an hour or so later, it was gray and starting to sprinkle. When I left the store, it was snowing, raining, and an arctic wind was blowing with a ferocity indescribable in print. I was wearing my giant, puffy, orange down coat; hat on; hood up; and I was all hunched over, eyes squinting against the squall, racing to the shelter of my house. I was glove-less and holding a grocery bag, so I had to keep switching the bag from hand to hand so the other hand could take a turn in a pocket. And my hands were getting so clammy from the sno-rain that they were making my pockets cold and soggy.

Meanwhile, a (tall, beautiful*) Dutch woman was just hanging out, standing at her bike, wearing a thin coat, no gloves, no hat, just acting like all kinds of weather wasn’t happening to her. And, I mean, it kind of wasn’t. I swear, her hair was somehow staying dry. I really think the weather was just avoiding her.

I see it all the time. Happy Hollanders in a light jacket, no gloves, no hat, in rain/snow/sleet/hail/wind/ice/etc. Just having a grand old time. Talking to friends, enjoying a pleasant stroll, or riding their bikes — and, mind you, no matter what the wind is doing on its own, if you’re on your bike riding into it, it will be blasting right into your face .

A fun thing my body does is that the minute I go into the cold, my nose starts running. Especially the right nostril**, for some reason. I don’t have a cold; I’m not allergic to anything. I don’t know why it does this. It just does. And the colder it is, the more it runs. Just runs and runs, freely and indefinitely, until I get inside.

When I was in first grade, I saw a girl in my class sitting at story hour letting snot run down her nose right into her mouth. I went, “Ew, that’s gross!” And she looked at me with grand attitude, rolled her eyes and said, “It’s part of your body.” As if that made it OK.

And yet. I’ve done it. Here. Now. As a 33-year-old woman. Walking down the street, my nose has run so continuously that I’ve grown tired of taking off my glove to wipe my nose with my hand, then putting my snotty hand back into my glove. So, instead, I’ve just let my nose run right into my mouth. I’ve even reached my tongue up and proactively licked off my own snot. I have done this. More than once. In fact, more than twice.

What is the state of things when my 6-year-old self had enough propriety to not eat snot, and my adult self does not?

I’m just saying, this is what it has come to.

* That description is technically redundant, since all Dutch people are tall and beautiful.

** Nostril is one of my favorite words.

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