Contrary to logic, as the weather warms, the plant world dons more layers. Bushes and shrubs wrap colorful scarves of leaves and blossoms around their shoulders. Trees drape bare branches with graceful green mantles. My lawn pads itself with a soft, thick layer of crabgrass.
Young human beings, however, shun this idea. Passing our town’s grade school one chilly afternoon, I noticed most shivering kids walking home sported shorts and flip-flops. They looked bluer than Smurfs.
At prom time, young women wearing strapless bodices and frozen smiles grace the spring landscape. A million goose bumps encase these lovelies like Bubble Wrap.
If you’re a parent, you do not puzzle over this missing link between wardrobe and meteorological conditions. Weather has nothing to do with it. What’s really happening? Kids are exercising independence. We all do stupid things at that age so we can grow up to never make stupid decisions again.
Still, as a perfect, mature being, I sympathize. My classmates and I suffered similar symptoms. We of the Dick-and-Jane generation wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing shorts and flip-flops to school. Still, our rebellious frenzy blasted black holes in that era’s proper universe.
We wore sleeveless shirts to class.
Abused classmates still wore sweaters Great-aunt Arlene gave them for Christmas. Obviously, they hadn’t exerted proper control over their parents.
I enjoyed wild, uninhibited freedom — until Mom made me wear a jacket.
In fact, she and my teacher kept me in a catch-22.
Mom: This class sheet says you must dress for all weather possibilities. Wear your jacket.
Teacher: Your mother sent this jacket with you, so you have to wear it.
Me: Can’t I put off hot flashes for a few decades?
We tortured children discarded outerwear as close to school dumpsters as we dared. We left jackets hanging in restroom stalls — or tried to flush them.
But our sins always found us out. Traitors among us tattled. No doubt bribed with extra-long turns at the water fountain, these snitches displayed our jackets and sweaters before the entire class until someone identified the culprits. Never would have I participated in such betrayal.
But when my children were growing up, I not only surrendered to the traitors — I joined their ranks.
Sweaters and jackets remain my friends to this day. They conceal my medical condition known as winter waist, characterized by mysterious swelling and extreme pain when buttoning last spring’s capris. Even when the sun shines, I cling to my compassionate buddies.
Someday, the young will realize that, along with moms and teachers, layers can be their friends.
And trees, who sport new cover-up wardrobes every spring, aren’t so dumb, after all.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you love your layers, too?