"Brett," I ask my husband, "What's the weather like today?" He has just come in from a brisk run and is panting a bit.
"It's nice," he says, a slight hesitation to his voice. He knows what's coming next.
"Nice cool or nice warm?" I ask. "Should I wear a jacket? A sweater? Just a scarf over my t-shirt? Or, like, a scarf and a sweater?"
Brett ignores my questions and walks past me. "I'm going to take a shower."
"Maybe my leather jacket?!" I call up the stairs after him, but he does not reply.
My husband of 13 years does not reply because he knows me too well. He knows that I am hardly ever satisfied with my preparations for the weather and that, somehow, this is his fault. If he tells me I don't need a jacket when we are walking from our house into town for lunch, I invariably complain the whole way about how freezing this 60 degree weather is. If we are headed for a Date Day in the city and I end up broiling in the 60 degree weather, it's his fault for telling me to bring my wool pea coat "just in case." Well, that coat is now slung over my arm, and it's weighing me down uptown.
This is the story of my life in seasons. Fall and spring are the worst; it's 80 degrees one day and 58 the next. Is it a break-out-the-new-flatforms day or layer-a-cashmere-wrap-over-your-t-shirt day? Or both? The changing seasons, coupled with the effects of global warming, are enough to drive a fashionista insane.
Which brings me to my long-time best friend -- no, not Brett -- the scarf.
Yes, you heard that right, the scarf. A scarf is my true life's companion. Too hot? Take it off. Too cold? Put it back on. Winter? I opt for a soft cashmere-and-silk blend. Spring requires something a bit stiffer, like crisp cotton. And an airplane ride, in any season at all, requires at least one of each type.
I'm like a magician with my scarves: one minute there is one around my neck and the next, poof! It has disappeared into the depths of my pocketbook. But then I may notice that a movie theater is a bit chilly, or that the table we have been seated at in a restaurant is located directly under a drafty vent. Poof! Scarf magically appears again.
My husband helps keep me centered when the world feels off, boosting my emotional thermostat whenever it dips into single digits. But I have come to understand that he does not also need to be in charge of determining how best to regulate my external barometer. Which is why I can happily share with women readers at least one of the secrets to a happy marriage: Keep your husband wrapped tightly around your finger and a scarf wrapped jauntily around your neck at all times.