red thermals for cold winters

This morning, in deference to the motherfucking cold, I put on some full-body feel-it-all-over wrists-to-ankles underwear. Bright red, buttoned from crotch to clavicle, a trap door in the back for those full-bathroom moments. And I'll be damned if they don't make me feel like a little old man in a cabin in the woods somewhere, armed with a shotgun and smoking a corncob pipe, nothing to keep him company but the howl of wolves and a stack of girlie mags from 1972.

What compelled human beings to show up in a place like this, take a look around and think oh yes, this looks great, no source of water, no hills, nothing but buffalo carcasses and bones, let's set up shop? The answer involves the words "railway" and "money" and "croneyism," but even so. In the midst of winter this city get so cold that its very character begins warp. Sounds echo sharply off buildings, the crunch of snow sounds like styrofoam (comparison via The Lotus), and the entire city puts up so many plumes of steam that it looks like a live-in oil refinery. In the late-breaking dawn the haze of frozen moisture obscures the idling traffic only a block away, occasional streetlights peeking through a corona of ice crystals. When you leave your building the hairs in your nostril freeze at each inhallation. This is the kind of weather that kills joggers, leaving them prostrate in the snow to asphyxiate from frozen lungs. Cold presses against the outer walls of buildings, penetrates doorways. Cold air clings to your coat and legs when you enter from the outside. And when you strip off your bulky outergear and collapse into a comfy chair, it's still cold.

Actually, the cold is manageable. What I hate about winter here is the way all my walking shortcuts are interdicted by snow. My parking lot diagonals and vacant lots, the field next to the train yards, the innumerable back alleys that I prefer to busy streets. Winter maps are relentlessly rectangular and packed with 90 degree angles. That's what winter really is: it's The Man, hassling me and enforcing property rights. Nasty reactionary season.