As a general rule, I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the British fear change. A poll in 1993 found that half the population feared that rabies would return to the country once the Channel Tunnel opened. The Daily Mail still hasn’t quite come to terms with the number of Poles now allowed into the country. And there was even outcry (from the elderly at least) when the UK finally embraced decimalisation in 1971. This despite an impossibly convoluted system that saw a pound made up of 240 pence, twelve pence in a shilling, a half crown worth two shillings and sixpence, and a farthing worth a quarter of a penny.
Americans on the other hand positively encourage change. They don’t let any President serve more than two terms, for a start – a principle that, if it had been in place in Britain, would have seen Thatcher frogmarched from office in 1987. Restaurants change names and cuisine every ten minutes, and marriage statistics suggest that people change partners as often as they change their oil.
But when it comes to weather, America just doesn’t do change. In Britain, it could be sunny in the morning, snowing at midday and pouring down with rain by the evening. Here in New York, if you wake up and the sun is shining, it’s a fair bet it’ll be sunny for most of the day. And if it’s raining cats and dogs when you ruefully manage to drag yourself out of bed, it’ll probably still be throwing it down when you finally tuck yourself back in later that night.
Sadly, the one constant that shows no sign of change at the moment is the cold. Each day I walk into work before 9 in the morning, and as the wind whistles in off the Hudson River, I swear that I would feel warmer if I had blocks of ice strapped directly to my testicles. The feeling in my toes has gone on
holidayvacation, and isn’t expected to return to my body until sometime shortly before Independence Day.
The eagle-eyed loyal reader will remember that I once said that coats are for losers and that I would “battle against the need for a coat until I have no breath left in my body.” Sadly the cold has taken away all the breath in my body, and I’m now seriously considering wearing two coats at the same time. The time for fearing change has gone. Otherwise, the only change happening around here will be the loss of all my bodily extremities.