Sunday, December 18, 2005

Victim of Fashion

Somedays, I really wonder what people are thinking when they get dressed...especially when the result puts them at risk of life and limb.

I ride the streetcar to work, and in the winter, the streetcar turns a blind eye to fashion. The desire for a warm, dry body and safe footing overrides the desire to look good. Well, this survival instinct is present in the majority of us, but every once in a while, Darwin loses a few.

Early in the morning, the winter commute can be treacherous and messy. New snow gets churned underfoot with salt and sand and makes for a rather greasy pile of slop. A ten minute wait for the car in minus twenty weather can be extremely uncomfortable.

I wear big, waterproof, shearling lined boots with monster treads to keep my footing and to prevent my toes from breaking off from frostbite. A big furry hat is pulled down to make contact with the thick scarf wrapped around my neck. Do I look rediculous? Hell, yes. Do I care? Hell no. I'm warm.

The other day (a particularly windy, cold, snowy day), I was sitting on the streetcar wiggling my fingers and toes to get the chill out. Grimey slush melted in the aisles and trickled to and fro with the movement of the car.

Then I saw her.

Well...I sort of saw her. I saw the top of a styled and starched head of hair peeking out of a quaintly dysfunctional white fur bomber jacket. The woman had made a futile attempt to pull up a tiny collar to keep her warm.

To her merit she wore boots. She had made some sort of effort to dress appropriately for the snow. Too bad they were stilettos.

I tried desperately not to stare at the white furry carcass hanging in the meat locker. She used the overhead bar to try to steady herself because the balls of her pointy feet and the base of a pencil thin heel weren't big enough to support a mouse.

Bravo! She hung on. Four stops and starts and she hung on.

With a weird sense of awe, I watched her depart. Click, click, click down the step of the streetcar. Click, click, click across the icy tracks. A gust of wind nearly toppled her, but she recovered and made it across the road and into another streetcar.

I think she was pretty...but I can't really remember her face. If I saw her and her outfit on the pages of a magazine, I may have even been envious.

I thought about her throughout the day and I wondered. Did she survive? Or did she break a leg...adding her name to that list of casualties: The Victims of Fashion.

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