02 January 2014

Annals of Puzzling Human Behavior

I know I should no longer be surprised when I see people who are ill-dressed for the weather, but I always end up wondering what's going on with them and how they can tolerate the conditions.

It's snowing lightly here today; the brunt of the storm will be coming through later tonight, and by tomorrow we should have a foot of snow. But it's very windy today. One of my eBay items sold last night, so I had to go out this morning to bring it to the post office. I figured it was better to get it into the system today, because I'll be spending a good chunk of tomorrow clearing snow and I don't know how quickly conditions will be returning to something near normal. I promise buyers that I will generally be able to ship their purchases within one business day, so if I want positive feedback it's in my interest to get their packages out quickly.

The two post offices that are easiest to get to are in Medford Square and downtown on Milk Street. Getting to the Medford post office requires more walking when leaving my house and coming back, as the bus route I take to get there is about eight minutes' walk away. Getting downtown requires less time outside: the stop for that bus route is only a minute from our house, and the post office is just around the corner from the State T stop, so today I decided to head downtown.

After I left the post office I saw a guy walking toward me, wearing only a short-sleeve polo shirt and jeans, and some sort of light-duty hiking shoes. His shoulders were hunched and his hands were stuffed into his pockets, and he ducked into a restaurant across from the post office. I suppose he had come from one of the nearby office buildings and figured he didn't need to bundle up to go and get his lunch.

But come on, it's 25 degrees outside and the wind is blowing at around 25 miles an hour. Short sleeves? And maybe this is my own judgmental nature at work, but when I see someone underdressed in such a way in such conditions, I tend to think it makes that person look at least a bit unhinged, as though he had spontaneously decided to wander away from his treatment program.

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