Maybe it’s my Northern roots, or perhaps I’m secretly part-Eskimo, but I’ve never really felt the cold like some people do. I’d always rather sleep with the window slightly open even in winter, and I rarely have the duvet over me at night (even though it provides mosquitos with unfettered access to the Brit Out Of Water bloodstream). As a sixteen year old kid, I distinctly remember going to see Manchester United one icy cold February night with a friend from across the road. Despite it being cold enough to freeze saliva in your mouth, both Phillip Ashley and I point blank refused to wear anything other than our short-sleeved replica United shirts. It took me until April to warm up from the effects of that night, I seem to remember.
So if one thing has been abundantly clear to me since an early age, it is this – coats are for losers.
An extreme principle some might say. And one that could be tested to the limit by my residency in New York. You see, after all my recent boasting about the temperature in the Big Apple being more appropriate for June than October, it seems that the natural order has been restored and winter is about to regain its icy grip on the city.
I’m determined not to give up without a fight though. Last Sunday, I looked out of the windows to our apartment to be greeted by bright blue skies and glorious sunshine. And, like any right thinking Northern monkey, I immediately put my shorts and T-shirt on to head outside and pick up food for the day ahead. Sure, the temperature made things a little bracing, but I wouldn’t say that I was uncomfortable. Until the staring began, that is.
As I combed the streets of Brooklyn looking for organic chicken, I realised that a phenomenally high number of people were dressed in thick winter coats. Couples stepped out from diners with matching scarves, while groups laughed and joked in their brightly patterned gloves. And there was me, looking like some kind of extra from Hawaii Five-O. Needless to say, my look provoked a number of confused stares. I’m surprised that passers-by didn’t offer me quarters towards a hamburger and some proper clothes, to be honest.
Today I progressed to wearing a t-shirt and a cardigan, as some kind of begrudging acceptance that perhaps the weather has changed for the worse. But I’ll battle against the need for a coat until I have no breath left in my body. Sadly, given how cold it gets in New York in winter, that might come sooner rather than later.