Thursday, December 5, 2013

Discomfort to Pain to Panic

Have you ever watched someone proceed through the process of going from discomfort to pain to panic?  I did.  I actually witnessed two men this morning go through this process.  It was quite interesting and I will never understand why you would willingly do this to yourself but for some crazy and unknown reason both of these men did just that.

I got to the bus stop this morning at about 5:55 am to catch the 5:57am BMX (Boulder to Market Street Station Express) into Denver.  I lined up as usual at the end of the chain of folks waiting for the bus.  I gave the woman next to me a polite nod and noticed how well she dressed for the cold.  Mind you, it was -4 degrees F this morning so it was butt-assed cold.  She was wearing a long down jacket that went down past her knees, a heavy wool hat, and an incredible scarf.  She probably thought I was really creepy because I check checking out her scarf.  Her scarf completely fascinated me.  The scarf wrapped around her neck but also had a built in facemask that covered her mouth, cheeks, and nose.  It was pretty stinking cool.  I googled it but I can't find anything like it.  She may have made it herself by combining a long scarf with a facemask.  All I know is that I thought it was pretty cool.
Facemask that could potentially sewn into a scarf.

As I stood there, warm as can be because I was properly dressed, two men lined up next to me.  I wanted to take their picture right then and there.  Both men were wearing light jackets and no hats.  One of the men had on thin leather gloves but the other man was gloveless.  As they lined up it was clear that they were cold.  WTF - of course they were cold, it was -4 degrees and they were dressed like it was 60!

Their discomfort then started.  I could see it in their faces and body language as they shifted their weight from foot to foot more often than was necessary.  Discomfort is not a big deal - we have all experienced discomfort from being dressed inappropriately either when it is hot or cold but these guys took it to the extreme.

Jacket just like the men were wearing
Then came pain.  This feeling was easy to see when they started stamping their feet slowly and it gathered speed as the time ticked by.  They shook their hands.  Moved their hands to cover their ears.  You know that pain when the cold sets in - nothing you can do about it if you are standing still.  These guys were standing still.  Eventually they both started bouncing on their toes while stamping trying desperately to get their blood flowing to get warm.  All I could do is shake my head and mutter to myself, "what dumbasses" as I stood there warm as could be.

Then came panic.  Well the bus was over 10 minutes late which is normal when there is snow and ice on the roads.  These two men should have realized that and dressed for the cold.  When the panic set in, I could see it in their eyes.  They both had the "deer in the headlights" look and kept looking for the bus with quick glances back to their cars.  Both men were visibly animated trying to raise their heart rates to get warm - they were almost jumping in place and shaking their arms viloently.  I am sure both were thinking about frostbite on their ears (or at least they should have been).  You could clearly see it - both men were panicking that the bus may never come.  You could see (and I bet you could have smelled it too) the fear in them.  Complete panic had taken over their minds.  I expected them to both take off sprinting for their cars but just as they were reaching their limit of fear and cold, the bus magically appeared out of the dark. 

Frostbite on an ear
So why would these men dress so poorly on such a cold day?  Are they macho freaks?  Are they stupid?  Are they insane?  I will never understand why anyone would ever do this to themselves when it is easy to dress warmly.  I was dressed for the cold and was perfectly content standing there waiting for the bus. Here is my get- up:
  • Upper body - long-sleeved t-shirt, a fleece, my windproof jacket, and the extremely warm liner to my hunting coat 
  • Lower body - boxer briefs, running tights on under my jeans.  
  • Feet - two pairs of socks (one wicking covered with a thick wool pair) and insulated boots
  • Head - a windproof running hat, fleece hat, and jacket hood 
  • Hands - a pair of thin running gloves as well as my lobster claw cycling gloves covering them. 
I was perfectly content as I watch those two men suffer miserably. 

All my clothes needed to stay warm in -4 degree air
Why?  I will never know but this morning's experience gave me an opportunity to watch two men go through the process of discomfort, then pain, then panic.  I was quite fascinated by their behavior and really wish I could have photographed or videoed their _______ (you can fill in the blank describing these foolish men). 

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