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Call me crazy, but since it’s been so cold and the middle of winter and all, lately I’ve been getting the urge to don a coat and place a knit toboggan on top of my head. Oh, and socks and boots on my feet and leggings, too, which I think are kind of trendy.
Not at the beach.
“Cute cap,” remarked a regular, bare-headed patron of Sunset Beach Town Council meetings upon my arrival at the board’s monthly session Jan. 10. His baby grandson, he said, wore the same kind of headgear when the infant went home from the hospital.
“Which is why I say it’s cute,” he added with a smile.
Thanks, I think, for the compliment, I responded as I plopped into my usual seat on a night when rain was freezing outside on the streets and most people who didn’t have to be out had the good sense to stay home.
Never mind that the thermometer has been dipping into the 20s and even the teens (with wind chill factored in). Here at that beach, that just means it might be about time to switch to slightly longer sleeves and pants lengths.
Norm Harding, the Beacon’s longtime news clerk and food columnist, is still sporting sandals, sans socks most of the time, a year-round style he adopted years ago after settling in Ocean Isle Beach from Ohio. Now, that’s a state that knows the meaning of snow and freezing temps, neither of which exist here as far as he’s concerned.
“I hope your toes aren’t froze,” I joked once as he prepared to exit the newsroom on yet another icy January afternoon in his usual bare-toed shoes. His lack of response indicated his typical nonchalance whenever anyone tries to broach the possibility it might be cold at the coast. Or maybe his ears were numb.
Still, in my calendar and at my house, just a few miles south of the Carolinas line, it is wintertime. I’ve tried to stay warm by turning up the heat and burning a few candles.
Last weekend, however, I awoke to a chilly house and a sudden yen for a Snuggie, one of those blankets you wear like a housecoat that, up until this winter, I had disdained.
I mean, if you want to go around all day covered in a blanket, stay in bed, right?
But when you’re shivering on the sofa while trying to drink coffee and watch the “Today” show, your brain starts to hypothermiate and rethink things, rational or not.
Eventually, I got up off the couch and, pulling on my usual “layers,” joined the big dogs shopping in Myrtle Beach.
“My! Don’t you look all bundled up?” a cheery bookstore clerk remarked just a few hours after flurries had hit the strand. I personally counted at least a dozen snowflakes.
“May I help you?!” another clerk exclaimed, scurrying my way at a neighboring department store as I stood in front of a mirror checking out a designer purse in a shade of bright spring green I had temporarily placed over my shoulder. (Ah, spring.)
“No, thank you,” I said, returning the over-priced bag to its display hook. “I’m just looking—and trying on.”
She nodded, eyeing me with interest as I continued to browse.
Later, I realized I must’ve been the only shopper at the beach in a bulky coat.
I might’ve looked suspicious, but at least I was warm.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.