The old joke about Chicago is that there are two seasons: winter and construction.   Well, it turns out that Chicago also only has two fashion options based on the weather: polar fleece or tank top.

We are tricked each April into thinking Spring has sprung.  The sun peeks out for one or two blessed days, and, like trolls emerging from underneath bridges, people appear in shorts and t-shirts walking on the streets and trails, riding through town and happily sipping coffee at outdoor cafes.  Life is beautiful once again.  Flowers are tricked into peaking up through the mud and most of us are duped into putting away our winter coats.

Then, as if straight from the North Pole, we are inevitably hit with another blast of winter.  The hopeful green grass shivers in the icy air trying not to hold onto the flakes that fall from the gloomy gray sky.  Outdoor furniture that was just cleaned off becomes frosted over with slushy snow and sits sadly on our porches and patios looking up at us like sad puppies being left at home as the family drives away.  Out comes the fleece… and the gloves… and the inevitable discussions, “I cannot believe it is snowing in April!”

Why does this surprise us every spring?  You know how people comment that Christmas decorations seem to come out earlier every year?  It turns out we all just have very short term memories.  Spring in Chicago is cold and wet and yes, sometimes snowy, year after year.  Christmas decorations go out in November year after year.  So don’t act surprised when we barely have a Spring this year.  And don’t be awed at holiday lights before Thanksgiving.  Both are inevitable.

So, the next time you have guests coming in from out of town in April or May, and they ask what the weather will be when they arrive, you now have the answer.  Polar fleece with a chance of tank top.

By: Betsy Brint

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