This article on miniature models of cities is interesting, but I’ll admit that mostly I just wanted to type the title for this post :)
It’s getting to be that time of year here in Minnesota. The snow is mostly melted. The ice on the lakes is receding. The potholes have returned. And I even saw a V of geese flying North overhead. Now, these are all good signs that the weather is starting to warm up, and that Spring is on its way. But it’s always hard to tell when Spring is actually finally here to stay. Some of the geese come back a bit early, and until we hit 90 degrees, I don’t trust that we won’t still get another snow. However, I’ve found one indicator that seems to be pretty good (which I’ll be paralleling here shortly) – the first day you wake up and hear birds chirping and singing, and you finally, officially know Winter is gone. Granted, the ravens seem to stay around all winter (I saw a few hopping around outside my apartment on a day that it was -10F this winter), but ravens don’t really sing, especially early in the morning. There’s just something about waking up and hearing song birds that gives you a certain lift of knowing that it’s going to be getting better from here on out.
And now, the parallel.
While I was still in college, I was walking back from class one afternoon near the end of winter. As I was walking up Jefferson St towards the Pentacrest I saw a girl crossing the street that sort of stuck me off guard. She was wearing a short skirt, and after a long Iowa winter, it just sort of struck me that, hey, it’s Spring. The First Skirt of Spring.
A few notes of clarification, paralleling the first day you wake up and hear birds singing. No matter how cold it gets outside, there’s pretty much always a few women around wearing long skirts with tights underneath, or in short skirts scurrying off to the bars. Like the ravens. But there’s something entirely different about the First Skirt of Spring, just like there’s something entirely different about waking up to song birds. It’s that it catches you a little off guard, but after a second of stun, it makes sense, and fits, and makes you a little happy of the things to come. It’s where you sort of realize that living in a cold climate and being single makes you sort of Amish for four or five months of the year. (Visible skin above the knee?!?! Scandalous!!!!)
Now, admittedly I’ve had this post on my to do list for a while now, so I’ve been giving an undue amount of thought to what exactly qualifies as the First Skirt of Spring, especially given the slow yet sporadic warm up we’ve been having this year. I haven’t come up with any really certain definition yet- basically, it’s just something you know when you see it. At the same time in thinking it over, and watching for it (yes, even in my late 20′s I’m well on my way to becoming a creepy old man) I’ve come up with what I think are some loosely defined qualifications, any of which can be omitted if you know it when you see it:
- Must be outside.
- Skirt must be above the knee. Preferably mid-thigh. This is both to have enough skin visible to be entirely eye catching after the winter, and also for it to be really damn cold if it’s too early.
- Girl must not look cold or seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere warm. This disqualifies winter bar whores and provides the requirement that it must actually be warm enough out for a short skirt, as the weather and the fact that this is just the first one of something that will become common shortly is a large part of the First Skirt of Spring phenomenon.
- No leggings or visible tights. Again, it must actually be warm enough out for a skirt.
- It doesn’t matter if you happen to find this particular girl, or this particular outfit, attractive. Bonus points if you do, but again, it doesn’t have to be the prettiest song in the world, just a reminder that birds sing and the flowers will be blooming soon. (Welcome to mixed metaphor junction.)
Now, so far this Spring, I’ve seen several instances that were very close. One girl with a very short skirt, but tights and a jacket. Another with bare legs, but right at knee length. A few others as well that were eye catching after an Amish inducing cold winter (I walked into my run club a couple weeks ago on a warm day, and everyone was wearing shorts, and upon seeing so much bared skin in public I had a moment of feeling like I had walked in on something entirely improper). But none that have given that moment of, “Ah, it’s Spring.” I think in no small part this is because I suspect that we’re still going to get one more snow before we’re totally out of it. And even on the warm days, there has still been just a little briskness in the air that says, “not yet.”
However, it’s supposed to get into the 70′s later this week….
I also occasionally wonder if there’s a female equivalent to the First Skirt of Spring. The First Biker Shorts Guy of Spring? The First Shirtless Runner of Summer? Ladies, help me out here.
I came across this post on Swissmiss about a company called Nutcase Helmets (their website seems a little hit or miss for actually coming up) that makes really cool looking hard shell bike helmets. And with a name like Nutcase, and making hard shelled bike helmets, an idea occurred to me for a bike helmet that I think would be really funny (your sense of humor may vary).
I’d like to see a bike helmet that looks like a giant walnut shell. You could even make it the sporty kind with vents to have the bumpy texture of an actual walnut shell, and the rounded front and slightly tapered back would be the right shape too. And then you could look like when a cartoon mouse is riding a motorcycle or a race car and they have buttons for wheels, and match sticks for handle bars, and a walnut shell for a helmet. For that matter, you could make a whole custom bike to go with the helmet so it would look like the whole thing was made out of over-sized tiny things – button wheels, match stick handle bars, a walnut helmet, a pleasantly ironic hamster wheel for the gears, toothpick pipes, a thumb tack seat (pointy part down!!), clothespin brakes, the whole deal. Insert your own gag about joining / leaving the rat race here. In short:
A good bit of perspective: