Monday, December 07, 2009
I once asked a friend living in California, transplanted from upstate New York and who had traveled extensively, whether he found that the perception of weather was a relative thing - i.e. did Californians appreciate their mild weather, or did they adjust and reset their thermostats? He answered that it was absolutely relative. He found that those living in California for some time became babies in regards to weather - a slight chill was as daunting to them as a cold Arctic blast was to us in the Northeast.
I have long claimed that one of the things I like about living in New York City is that the winter does not affect our lifestyles as greatly as it does our suburban and country brethren. That philosophy was tested this weekend when winter finally hit. Until then, New York City has not yet felt the slap of winter's hand.
I confess that I had become quite accustomed to our pleasantly warm and very tolerable autumn. I was a bit of a baby this weekend, not wanting to go outside anymore than someone living in Maine. Perhaps less so, because those environments do not tolerate babies.
Peering out my window, it is bleak, dreary, windy and cold. People are wearing down coats, hoods, gloves and scarves. There is no stroll or whimsy in their gait but rather a sense of purpose and direction. In fact, because New York is such a walking environment, something I have long championed and loved, it makes it all the more difficult to brave and acclimate to the onset of winter. Nearly everyone here does substantial walking, even in the winter season - I walk nearly one mile to work daily, irrespective of the season or weather. Even those taking the subways daily must walk both to and from the stations to their destination. There are no autos to shield the wind, garage door openers, or heated seats.
Winter has not officially started yet, and I certainly cannot stay indoors until the start of spring. I don't want to be slapped going outside - I prefer the caress of blankets, the sizzle of steam, and the cozy atmosphere of home. But I have some work to do. I need to go out there and demonstrate how this city is just as robust, dynamic, and fun to explore in the winter as any other time. And, it wouldn't hurt to stop being a baby :)