With the temperatures in Austin having hovered around the mid-90's nearly every single day since we've arrived here back in July I'm beginning to wonder about what to do with all of my winter clothing.
Being a native New Englander I'm having issues with the notion that I have close to twenty years worth of cold weather apparel sitting in my closets with no "wear" to go. Please, I beg of you, don't suggest I donate it all to some well-intentioned organization such as 'Good Will' or 'The Salvation Army' (would they even know what to do with winter clothes down here??).
Mainly, I don't relish the idea of parting with anything loaded with so much bred-in-the-bone regionally-challenged symbolism stitched so deeply into it. We're also talking hundreds (possibly, gulp, thousands) of dollars worth of hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and just plain winter weather themed stuff here, too. Plus, I'm not entirely convinced that I won't be using at least some of it at some point again either - let's just say I decide on that long dreamed of trip to Siberia next month, for example...
Despite being told it will get cold here in Southern Texas it will never get New England Cold. Nor, Colorado cold for that matter where one of my brothers lives. I like my cold C*O*L*D! and I like it when it's "supposed" to be cold not when the State of Texas decides it wants to be cold.
To add insult to injury, after dinner tonight with friends, Kirby, a native Austinite, assured me, while shivering on a frigid 87 degree sidewalk outside of the restaurant, that the climate will refrigerate itself right up again by January. She hugged her arms around herself and theatred-me a killer mocking "brr-r-r-r-r-r" display.
Yeah, save your mime act for the kiddies, Marcel, I ain't buyin' it. And, by... say again? January!?
You mean I have to wait until my birthday for some slightly cooler temps around here? Damn.
Of course, I must remind myself I spent two and half years in Los Angeles long before moving to Texas so I have some professional experience on the old Curriculum Vitae when it comes to year round heat.
There is no such thing as cold in L.A. Cold in L.A. is having your forehead pressed flat against a glass of frozen Green Apple-tini while holing yourself up inside some trendy air conditioned chi-chi palace sitting on a block of colored ice custom fitted to shape your ass. Which, knowing L.A., there is just such a place where you can do exactly that (I believe its in West Hollywood off of Franklin...).
Hot is what L.A. is all about. Because, after all, if you aren't hot then you aren't cool either ... ironically (sigh).
Celebrity aside, Southern California is the land of fire. As in, everything is on fire all of the time -- because its so damn hot! It got to be a real trying experience having all that ash fall into my sushi at lunch time. Especially in December... (I kid you not; the air was thick with it!).
While living in L.A., though, I longed for the days when I was able to fly back to Boston for a brief visit just to experience Autumn again. Watching the leaves return to their schizophrenic melt-downs of orange, yellow, red, and mauve before plunging to their glorious seasonally ordained deaths in the quietest rite of post-October passage. The ripening orchard fruit hanging urgently from bended, leafy limbs screaming 'pick me, pick me before I fall and bruise my perfect skin'! Most excellent of all the crisp cold charged scent of Fall air that never failed to whip-up nostalgia waxing via a melancholy "bon voyage sleepy summer vacation of beaches and mowed lawns, hello colorful crepe paper oak leaves taped to elementary school classroom doors" association. That smell association is, I believe, a color, as well, by the way ... Crayola (R) just hasn't made a crayon large enough to fit all the words on it yet.
My formative pre-Adult years obviously phoned in this evening, the pre-'you all growed up now so start diggin' that grave, boy, dig, dig! we ain't got all day (snnnniiiiffff, hock-pahtuey!)' days are making a pleasant, but still collect, call.
"Will you accept the charges from Massachusetts, sir?" Ahhh, crap, not again...
Despite many an attempt at escape from my hearth and home of the Northeast, because of any myriad number of damning reasons I won't get into here, it will never hang itself up on me. I will always long for things like cold air come October and snowy winter evenings by December. It has always meant "cozy" to me. In fact, when it was ever not frosty in October, or there was no snow by Christmas time in New England, I would curse the gods for ruining another blown opportunity at having pleasant memories for my rocking-chair years.
Have no fear; this will not turn into some gotcha-rant about global warming. However, if Al Gore could bottle a new line of some "New England Fall Experience" formula at a reasonably priced enough deal ... I'd be the first to buy it.
No, this, instead, is yet another 'what to do about enjoying your new home as much while grappling the preponderance of your native born essence' kind of brain tousling (Waffles, anyone?). Presented here the curious cross roads of being in love with two places (or people or objects or...) at the same time; sadly, one lover must eventually and willingly be left behind to safe-keep your back story while the other one takes you by the hand and leads you towards fresh, unscripted pages.
Without doubt the latter can easily be the most alluring lover of them all.
But, what desire one can have for the well-rehearsed kiss and the knowing and confident cartographer's hands that had previously mapped every contour of your flesh and psyche. Therein lies great comfort to be sure.
So, despite having always longed to leave New England, I regret to inform me, New England was never long to leave me. And, as I attempt yet another clumsy goodbye, I see that I'm forever stuck with the chills that it gives me.
Happy New Year,