It’s fall now and after fall, as we all know, comes winter! Now, some people love winter! The holidays, the snow, the 18 layers that you have to put on just so you can take off 10 of them when you get inside somewhere with heat! But for me, winter is definitely not my most cherished time of year. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loooove the holidays, the gifts, the cheer, the mirth, and the cookies! And I grew up in Indiana where winter did not play around. We get snowstorms like you wouldn’t believe and basically our roads are just sheets of ice until it gets to spring. Some people don’t even leave their houses because the winter is so bad and they emerge again in the spring! (kidding! but honestly, in some rural parts of the state you never know). But I quickly learned during my first year there, that winter in NYC is different, in every way shape and form and I am going to tell you just how to survive it.
When I first moved to NYC, I had just come from spending four years in Savannah, GA where the winters were southern winters (a.k.a. mild and friendly) so I knew how to handle them. However, I had survived the 18 winters that I spent growing up in Indiana so I wasn’t scared at all! I could conquer this supposedly horrible New York winter nooooo problemo. I started to get worried though as fall came to an end and there was an overall sense of dread and preparing that was happening throughout the city. It seemed like mentally and physically people were gearing up for something…for what? For winter?!? I was confused! It seemed like that was all anyone could talk about- winter this and snow that and no one and I mean no one was happy about it. I walked by storefronts that sold thermal underwear and tops. One store even sold socks that you could turn on and they turned into little heaters. What was going on!? I felt like I was in the movie the Day After Tomorrow or in Florida before hurricane season. Everyone and everything was battening down the hatches! Even the pigeons seemed to be in survival mode (or maybe that’s how they always are). But still, I knew I could handle winter…I had done it basically my whole life so why should this be any different.
Boy was I just so wrong. Winter didn’t just slowly slide in as I was used to with fall slowly giving way to a cold day then a colder day and finally a snow day. Oh no no no, this winter was RUDE. One day, after a beautiful brisk fall day, it dropped about 30 degrees and we were hit with such a bad snowstorm that most of the subways could not run. I now realized what people were talking about. Since I did not have a car, every time I needed to go somewhere, I would have to go face to face with the beast called winter. I went out the next day and bought an entire thermal underwear set (not the socks though, even though I wanted to...I was afraid of mechanical failure and then an explosion in my shoe). The snow was awful, the wind chapped my face and the cold made it so that even if I tried to text, my fingers would get so numb that they would not last .005 seconds outside my gigantic insulated mittens. I bought a floor length winter coat with a huge fur hood that made me look like the lord of some Norwegian village and stomped my way through the city the rest of the winter. I was angry ALL the time and I finally realized why everyone was so pissed and scared of this season! Even the windows at Macy’s could not cheer me up, mostly because to see them, I would have to stand outside and risk losing my butt cheeks. I began to tell people who wanted to hang out that they had to call me again when it was warm, because the only time I was leaving my apartment in the cold was for sustenance, work or the opening of a new doughnut place around the corner. I learned to dodge the endless watery slush holes that seemed to be at the corner of every street. I learned that lesson the hard way, stepping into one thinking it was shallow only to find myself up to my shin in icy slushy muck. I almost lost my left ankle that night….(I didn’t but honestly I wanted to cut it off). I felt my primal instincts kick in (didn’t even know I had them) and every day became just about survival. I began to wear animal skins and chop my own wood for fires! (Ok so that’s a bit extreme, but at that point I really felt like I could have).
But then, something amazing and wonderful happened. March came and I was relieved. SPRING HAD MADE IT. I had survived! I was Tom Hanks at the end of Castaway when he sees the big ocean liner. I had done it! My first New York winter in the books! No lost digits, or butt cheeks and even though I was pale and my skin looked like it didn’t even know what moisturizer was, I was so happy. Spring, my favorite season, had begun and it was only up from here!! I began to put away my sweaters and thermal undies, my giant coat and huge snow boots. I donned a light sweater and trendy jean jacket, I WORE SANDALS!
And then, it snowed again. So I did the only logical thing that I could do…I moved to Los Angeles.