No Shame / by Courtney Mehlhaff

Well, here it is a new year, and I reapply myself with more determination to actually keeping this blog updated regularly. First topic of 2009? The fact that there are very few situations in this world in which a person should have no shame. By that I mean they shouldn't care what other people think about them. I will name two.

First: How you look when it's 25 below outside. I was online earlier this weekend ordering some new (warmer) boots and gloves, and I found myself trying to mentally coordinate them with my other articles of winter clothing. After several unsuccessful minutes, I finally realized that nothing I have matches. It was all purchased out of necessity, at different times in different years, and together amounts to a mishmash of down, knit, fleece, and Goretex that can be combined in an infinite number of ways for maximum comfort but minimum fashion.

Why is it that the warmest coats are never quite the most stylish? Do I need to look like a walrus just to keep my core temp above 90? And why do the best scarves and earmuffs and facemasks make us all look like frosty criminals? I will guarantee you that I run across at least one person each day who's bundled up like the unibomber . . . but who cares!! When you're standing outside stamping your feet, bouncing up and down, occasionally dancing and swearing up a storm just to avoid losing any toes, you don't care about others judging you. You just want to survive. You should have no shame.

[As a sidenote, in the interest of full disclosure, I also have no shame in moving very quickly from building to building if I must venture outside in cold weather. I go nowhere slowly when it drops below freezing. I'm not kidding, I would leave my grandmother in the dust if it meant getting inside a few seconds faster.]

Second: Last week, I was about 30 feet from my bus stop when the bus, earlier than usual, blew right by me. Without thinking, I took off sprinting after it for another full block (to no avail) and yelling "Hey! Hey! Hey!" I do this inadvertently, the yelling. I know the driver can't hear me, but I want the universe to know that I filed a protest. Here's the thing, though -- when I run for the bus, I RUN FOR THE BUS. I mean full-out, crazy-person, arm-flailing, track and field running. And from experience, I know that watching someone do this from inside the bus is one of the funniest things in the world.

But what's even funnier is watching someone who needs to run but doesn't want anyone to know they're in a hurry. They sort of hop-shuffle along, like, "What? Late? Not me! No, this is my normal, everyday, extremely frenzied walk, and I'll thank you to look away now while I dive toward a moving vehicle." When they do finally step on, sweating and wheezing slightly, they try to pretend it was all part of the plan. Wake up, shower, dress, jog in dress shoes, go to work.

I once watched a woman sprint four blocks to catch our bus at the next stop, and when she got on I noticed she was wearing heels. I almost started clapping. Seriously, I think we should, as a society, start applauding people who accomplish stuff like this. And not a sarcastic Brubaker effort, but sincere, appreciative applause. Because not only did they work their ass off to get their day back on track, but they didn't care that you shook with silent laughter as they did it. And that's nothing to be ashamed of.