Norms are cultural. So it wasn’t really strange for school officials to give me a pink blanket last fall. It accordingly sat next to my desk in its bag for exactly three days while I wondered who might want it. Then a closer look revealed it was not solid pink, but accented with pink flowers. And fleece. The harmonious merger of Mary Kay and Old Navy was sitting on the floor of my Chinese university.
Blankets have always gotten the better of me. Despite my spartan living habits, I picked up a blanket from the Gentrys during a summer tour through Nebraska that has, with its perfect combination of weight and compactibility, has served many a cool occasion. It accompanied me through my senior year book-bound Christmas break. It was a welcome addition to our celebration of spring in recliners on the front lawn of Armitage burning incense and passing matte. It made appearances in Man Council. It covered vast regions of the US. It sat at the foot of my bed in China for months.
Fleece has always been rather attractive to me, as well. Those of you who remember my orange Adidas sweatshirt will attest to that. And that should be most of you, as I wore it regularly for about seven years. And this blanket was soft fleece. Really soft fleece.
The problem was that I had a hard time displaying it at the foot of my bed. I’m not afraid of pink, but we’re talking serious pinkage. There was no way I was letting it go unused, though. I tossed it from chair to chair while I used it for a few days to confirm our mutual respect before finding its perfect resting place.
It spent the winter neatly smoothed under the comforter on my bed.
I bring this up now because I again faced the dilemma as spring turned its gaze toward Changchun. A sudden cold snap (and subsequent snowfall) secured it a few more days on my bed, and a glance at the forecast doesn’t foretell its immediate removal. But it’s going to happen soon.
Perhaps I’ll accept my animated role model’s advice and add a new sport coat to my closet.