As I was dressing for school today, I pulled on a thermal long sleeve shirt followed by a sweater, scarf, sock liners under my wool socks, jeans, my winter coat and hat. Since it is expected to only reach the mid-teens termperature wise, and since I would be walking all over campus today, I am wearing glove liners under my winter gloves.

I was raised in Detroit, lived in Northern Michigan for a numbers of years, headed south for while, back up north to the great state of Maine and now I’m back in the Great Lakes region. Basically this means is that I know how to dress for winter.

alexander-mcqueen-jet-crystal-bootie-styleI try not to look like a schlub in the process. I have a cute hat and a decent coat. But really, at my age, style can be damned when it comes to keeping warm and dry. This point has been particularly driven home with the severity of this winter.

So I’m sitting in my Math class next a fellow student, one who hails from the Erie area, and we’re dicsussing our future plans. I am unsure of mine as of yet, but my classmate is bound and determined to head south.

“I can’t handle the cold anymore.” Is what she tells me.

I consider this for a moment as I take in her attire: skinny jeans that barely reach her ankles, ballet slipper-shoes with no socks, a rather flimsy looking jacket that only just reaches her waist and really doesn’t stretch the length of her arms. Lastly, a filmy scarf with no evidence of mittens or hat.

Her hair and make-up is perfect. Her coat probably costs a couple hundred dollars, as does her jeans and probably her shoes. She looks polished. She looks fantastic. She also looks like she’s freezing her butt off. And it’s not as if she is new to winter. She grew up here for Dog sake.

And she is clone of dozens of other girls I see on campus every day.

My classmate goes to say how much she loves the area. She loves the spring, summer, and fall in Erie. She is close to her family. She has a tight circle of friends. She has been dating a boy for a few years (he’s from just over the New York border) and they are discussing marriage. In addition, this girl and her boyfriend have the option of working for family businesses upon graduation.

It sounds like a good life, but she really can’t stand the cold, and hence, must leave.

This puzzles me to no end. Sure, Sailor and I’ve moved around..a lot…but merely because we have been seeking community. Find a community where we belong and a reasonable job and we’ll stay put. I know myself enough to say that I’ll never live down south. I hate the heat. I know myself enough that I’ll not settle down in Erie because this just isn’t my kind of town. I know we will probably head back east eventually, not because we particularly love the harsh winters, we don’t, but because it has what Sailor and I want: a nice life around great people and reasonable employment. As far as the winter goes, well, we own good boots and thick winter coat. Plus, I rock at making a fire.

So I wonder about this classmate of mine. Out of a dozen mentioned criteria for a place to settle down, Erie has 11 things going for it and one against. The winter. 3 months out of 12. Given that, isn’t it simply much easier to, oh, I don’t know, dress appropriately for the damn cold than remove yourself entirely from a place you clearly want to be?

Where’s the sacrifice in buying a sturdy pair of boats and a wool coat when you can have everything else you really want, and let’s be honest, really need in life?