It's not what you think.
The other day Katie and I were having coffee (we do this a lot; Alaska is a bit coffee-addicted, maybe even more than Seattle is) and for some reason decided to drive someplace together. I can't recall where, but we decided to take my truck. Now, I don't know about you, but for me it's pretty common that I've got various things stashed in my truck - a dog or two, gym togs, a 50# bag of sheep feed, my lunch, presents, a stack of mail, an extra coat, what have you... and though these typically are not all in my truck at the same time (well, maybe the sheep feed and the gym togs, plus or minus a dog or two at all times), it's not uncommon that there's some detritus of my everyday life lurking in the front passenger seat. Hence, as Katie and I are embarking on our little jaunt, I tell her, "Just kick that stuff to the side; you don't mind, do you?"
"No," she says, deftly shuffling her feet amongst the items on the floorboards (which on this occasion include my windshield scraper, a half a roll of duct tape, a random dog leash, and a pair of spiky black patent leather heels.) Now, it should come as no surprise to anyone that an Alaskan has a windshield scraper in their vehicle, and that it's kept handy. Nor should it be a shocker that there is a leash in the vehicle of a vet (or anyone else who owns four dogs). It might be less clear that duct tape - which up here is sometimes referred to as "fifty-mile-an-hour" tape, because you can temporarily fix most anything on your vehicle with it, and it'll more or less stay fixed so long as you don't drive over 50 mph - is an item which isn't at all out of place in the cab of an Alaskan pickup. Evidently, however, not everything passes muster with Katie.
"You keep spike heels in your truck?" she asks me, with a sidelong glance, as if wondering what I do in my truck that requires a set of open-toe slingbacks.
"Well, yeah," I say. "I pretty much only wear them at Dave's house, and they're hard to drive in, so I change into them when I get there, and out of them when I leave. It's just more efficient to keep them in the truck."
"I see," Katie says, nodding thoughtfully, apparently seeing my reasoning. I fire up the truck and we are on the roll before Katie starts laughing.
"What?" I ask her.
"You are a true Alaskan woman," she says, grinning.
"What do you mean?" I ask. By way of an answer, from the console between the seats she picks up one of my my Leatherman tools (one of which is, quite naturally, in my truck, where it might come in handy at any moment). Around it I have (temporarily, I assure you) clipped a glittery enamel-and-rhinestone hair ornament.
"What?" I ask her again, blankly.
"It's not just that you have duct tape and high heels on the floor, or that you have a Leatherman and a super-fancy hair doodad in the console," she says. "It's that the Leatherman is WEARING the super-fancy hair doodad. Only a real Alaskan woman would do THAT."
"It's just to keep the hair thingy from tumbling around, " I tell her. "I'm being practical. It's not a fashion statement."
Katie looks at the slingbacks (the heels of which are nestled into the center of the roll of duct tape) and raises an eyebrow, looking amused.
Well, she can laugh. But it takes one to know one.