Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cold Night

I never used to think it was all that cold in Austin, Texas, but one night 30 years ago I found out different. We all sold arts and crafts and other crap in the Guadalupe Street market (aka The Drag) near the University of Texas throughout the year, but the Christmas season started getting popular and uncomfortable when competition forced us to "stay all night", sleeping or awake, in order to keep our "blanket spots" for the next day from being usurped by other anxious Johnny-come-lately hippies or eye-on-the-prize capitalists. For the first few nights, the cold seemed gradual, sort of got us used to it, but one night was far worse. (It reminded me of a night as a hitch-hiker when I spent time in a sleeping bag, only partially asleep in a field. In the middle of the night I realized there was a train track not too far away from me--God, was it loud! In the coldest hours of the morning, I shivered fully-dressed and even inside a sleeping bag!)

On that Austin sidewalk that night, I was already wearing every layer of clothing and hat and scarf I could think of, but was still shivering badly. Then I could hear a commotion nearby and it turned out that one of the street peddlers was selling ski-masks at midnight, the kind that covers your entire head and face, leaving holes for the mouth and nostrils, and they were selling out in a hurry! I'd never worn one before and a whole bunch of us walked around looking like we were going to rob a bank, but I found out how much body heat escapes through one's head! Five minutes after I put it on, I stopped shivering! I felt like God had intervened, though the feeling has since passed. But if you're cold, cover your whole head!!!

[I wrote another post a couple or years ago about the "drag" and the frenzy and competition there. Nobody got killed, not even Santa Claus.]

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Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! (At least put on your socks and pants.)