Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Getting aculturated

[Dawn over the parking lot]

Shopping in a real department store this morning I realized I have to think about how I want, and need, to dress for the coming winter season. My life is different and as I look around I see people are also dressing differently. I have a collection of cashmere sweaters [mostly versions of NYC black/gray] and I normally have worn with black/gray pants. Fine. But now I'm home most days, and when I go out even that casual sweater and pants combo is dressier than the people around me who are in fleeces and fisherman sweaters, jeans and sneakers.

Then there's the simple practical matter of how to be comfortable. In my nearly 100 year old Manhattan apartment building the steam heat was controlled by management. It came on Oct. 15th and was shut off May 1. The radiators had been painted so many times the handles to adjust the amount of steam were long ago painted solidly open. Anyway, I always used the radiator cover as an extra shelf from which I did not want to move things. Therefore the apartment in winter was often nearly 80 degrees. When too warm I opened a window the amount needed to adjust the temperature of the room.

Not so in this more modern apartment. I can adjust the thermometer but it seems profligate and actually ridiculous to set it over 68 or 70 and I know most people keep their homes at about 65. Here people wear sweaters and fleeces and sweatshirts at home all winter. This makes sense to me although I feel a little cool doing so. I can adjust and I WANT to adjust. I think it's better for me and for the environment. That is what I was thinking as I shopped. Adjustments. A different way to live even when alone at home, all because I moved 250 miles north to a different milieu.

Winter is coming. I KNOW winter from years of living upstate in New York. Winter in this kind of place can be very different from winter in NYC. This morning I saw someone in the parking lot scraping ice off the car's windshield. When I went out almost two hours later the sun had melted the frosting on my windshield but this was a harbinger. I will adjust ... probably while wearing a layer of fleece.

1 comment:

Kass said...

I lived in NYC for several years and could never understand how overheated the buildings were in winter. It made we wonder if the city was actually a little warmer because so much of the heat was being let out of the windows.