The air in the room feels like a bio-sauna, too hot and humid for Alaskan residents, but comfortable for anyone from Houston, Texas. A smell of tobacco, marijuana, stale beer, sweat and perfume fills the sticky, muggy air. Green, blue, white and red spotlights circle over the dance floor while expanding to a yard (~0.91 m) in diameter before vanishing and then starting out as a point again. A green laser paints loops that look like the planets’ travelling loops prior to the Kepler’s worldview.
“Bei mir bist du schön” yells out of the loudspeakers that have seen better times. They buzz like flies in the outhouse. The thirty something bartender stares bored at the small crowd of baby boomers. They sit around two round tables that they had pulled together. They all wear the stuff you can get in town at the grocery store and/or at the local outdoor outfitters except for one. She wears a taupe short-sleeve Chanel-inspired twinset, a delicate gold necklace, and black joggers with a print, the young Brigitte Bardot would have chosen for a dress back in the early 60s – a classic gamine European floral print. In the group, she looks like Scotty had mixed up coordinates when trying to beam her to St. Tropez. She is a snowbird.
Two other baby-boomer guests come in. The bartender pulls out glasses and starts working on their drinks despite they haven’t even ordered yet. Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, Alaska, the community is so small that there is no need to order unless you want something different this time. This concept applies to food as well. Sure, there is not much choice in food to begin with.
Now the two reach the group with the snowbird. “Oh my goodness, you are back! We were already worried you had died” one of the two greets her while giving her a hug. “We expected you to be back on the first Condor (flight), end of May. Where have you been? You are late!” The last sentence sounds like from the movie Independence Day when the Jasmine Dubrov greets her boyfriend Captain Steven Hiller who had stolen a helicopter just to meet her.
“Thanks for the worries” the snowbird replies having a happy smile all over her face. “I have been busy working.” “You are retired!” “Yes, but I figured I feel younger when I stay busy.”
What are Snowbirds?
Many Alaskans, once retired, leave Alaska in late November when the weather becomes crisp. They return after snow-melt in May when the weather gets awesome again. These people are still Alaskans and hence eligible for the permanent fund dividend as they live in the State for more than six month. They also get called for jury duty.
Most of the snowbirds “overwinter” in the dry desert climates of the American Southwest, or the maritime winters of Florida, Hawaii, or Oregon. Only few snowbirds go to South America or Europe.
Snowbirds like tourists wear different clothes than the 365-12-7-24 Alaskans. However, they can be easily distinguished from tourists. Unlike tourists, they don’t wear long sleeves in summer, they wear real bags, and no sneakers or Birkenstocks. Furthermore, their cars don’t look like they go thru the car-wash every week.
Snowbirds are part of the community, and people worry when they do not show up at their usual time.
What I wore lately
I ordered this dress at eShakti. I love that it can be worn many different ways. Now I can wear it alone as a summer dress for work. Later in fall, it will make a great outfit with a shirt under neath. In early winter, before the snowbirds leave, a sweater underneath or worn over the dress make for other great work outfits. The dress’ dark navy blue color goes with nearly everything in my closet. Here I added a tailored leather jacket in case the AC is an overachiever.
This sheath will become a work horse in my wardrobe in the next time.
Here I am having a southern European moment wearing an all black outfit. I had ripped my lace skirt a while ago, but found it to be a big loss in my closet. Thus, I was happy when I found this beauty to replace the old one. I paired it with a sleeveless shirt and nude pumps for a sophisticated hot summer day office look. In summer, I don’t have to schlep pumps to the office. Thus, I can add my Burberry bag that I bought on eBay a year ago.
What are you wearing when it gets hot?
Photos: G. Kramm
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