Walking around campus today, in weather that would have made a Dubliner proud, I was struck by the fashion choices I encountered. I considered myself reasonably dressed for cool, wet weather (of course, I was working, so my range of options were a little limited). For me, it was Dockers, a long sleeve dress shirt (no tie) and my UMBC windbreaker. As I said, very appropriate.
Passing me as I went were students in jeans and hoodies, shorts and tee-shirts, and some in heavy, winter parkas. While the weather wasn’t so extreme that any of these could be classified as signs of mental illness, it did strike me as a wonderful study in personalities.
Are the folks in shorts desperate to hold onto summer, did they spend the money their parents sent for clothes on something else, or do they just sweat more easily than others? And the people in huge winter coats, are they snow-lovers who just can’t wait, did they not have any clean clothes, or do they have circulatory problems?
And then there are the folks (mainly ladies, thank God) who wear sandals or flip flops with long pants, no matter the weather. Do they not have decent shoes? Do they imagine that their feet are really sexy, and they just can’t bear to hide them? Personally, I’ve never worn sandals or flip-flops, because I hate the way my feet feel in them, and then they get filthy inside and I hate that feeling, too.
One thing I’ve noticed that even when it’s really raining, most college students don’t use umbrellas, probably because they can’t carry them with all of the other stuff they’ve got. But they still don’t run to keep out of the rain, because then they’d look like a dork. So they just get wet. Students who have been on campus a while, though, know how to go almost anywhere without getting wet – by dodging water-traps (like that spot under the overhang at the UC, or the numerous small lakes that develop in key locations) and by following meandering paths through close or connected buildings. It’s like the underground railroad for clever, water-adverse students.