|Eli, my coat and me cooling off in the "Stripey Hole" at |
Eastern State Penitentiary
The jacket is orange, but not obnoxiously. More like pumpkin soup than a traffic cone. People comment on the color frequently. Enough for me to have a prepared response.
"Right, I rarely get shot at when I’m wearing it." This flippant statement will seem incongruous to most readers. I expect this. I grew up in a close-in Washington, DC suburb. As an adult, I relocated into the city. Orange as a safety device is not understood by city folk. But ten years ago, I moved to this rural setting. In my new town, hunting is a popular sport.
I own three coats. A heavy winter coat, worn a handful of times each year – on very cold days when I'm outside for long periods – sledding with my kids, on snowy hikes, at the New Year's Eve fireworks. A mid-weight fleece jacket for all other cold weather occasions, layered over sweaters or flannel, depending on my destination. And my raincoat. Which, besides being orange, is completely waterproof, even in summer-time cloud-bursting thunderstorms. Primarily though, I wear it as a windbreaker. My go-to jacket for any weather that doesn't involve frozen precipitation or woolen caps.
As the cashier gives me my change, she says "Well, I like it anyway." I walk out into the early-spring morning wondering if I received a complement.