The Saga of the Jacket

The most important fact about astronomy is that you're cold all the time. Normally outside on the chilliest of nights when the viewing is best, you stand still for hours and hardly move around at all.

So you dress twice as warmly as you think you have to. You layer. You wear sweaters and gloves and jackets and caps. This night was no exception. I wore my jeans and a knit shirt, all covered by a reasonably heavy sweater. Andrea didn't think that was enough, so she talked me into a warm jacket as well. Of course, I came to Durham a little light in the shoes department (which is not at all the same as being a little light in the loafers, mind you!), so all I had to wear were my topsiders. Without socks. Who wears socks with topsiders?

To get to the observatory, we had to walk through a large field, covered with long, dew-covered grasses. My feet were soaked. After a half-hour or so, I couldn't feel them anymore. Andrea kindly offered to get my fleece jacket from the car, 100 yards away. We could use this jacket to cover the warm jacket I was already wearing.

Worked pretty well for a while, but I knew that eventually I had to get back to the car heater and warmth. Andrea walked across the field to get the car, carefully turning off the lights so as not to blind the other observers. She picked me up and we drove to the road. "Got your jacket," she asked?

"Damn! Baby, would you mind retracing my steps to find the jacket that you so clearly told me to hold onto? It must've slipped off my back and I didn't feel it," I concluded.

Andrea, "(expletive deleted)(expletive deleted)."

So, Andrea spent the next fifteen minutes covering every square foot of the field, walking through the dew-laden grasses in wet shoes and freezing her own tush off in the process. She had to use her cellphone lamp, so I could see her criss-crossing the field.

"Where could you have dropped it? I looked everywhere!" she asked, cool as a cucumber.

Which was exactly when I felt under my fanny, only to find . . .