How do I like living New York City? I love walking every where, every day sites on the streets, street fairs, Central Park, warm nights, roof top bars, biking along the river, slightly experimental fashion, side walk cafes… Sensing a theme here? I LOVE living in New York. In the summer (and the months surrounding summer). The other 5 months of the year…well, “love” is a strong word.
This is my 6th East Coast winter. Do they ever get easier? While in college I managed to avoid a huge chunk of January, extending my Winter Break, home in San Francisco, well into the late teens. Since graduation my winter res pit has been short indeed- five little days home for Christmas. I suppose I shouldn’t complain, many people get no glimmer of warm weather for the whole season, never have. Really makes me wonder why they put Christmas in December. That’s just the beginning of winter! After Christmas there’s little to look forward too, the magic is gone, and it only gets colder. We cling to the stupid winter holidays: Groundhog’s Day (did you hear about the controversy yesterday? I’m on Team Chuck, and you should be too), Valentine’s Day and Saint Patrick’s Day, which really provide little comfort unless you’re a groundhog, part of a couple, or Irish/alcoholic. The cold, lack of color, fierce wind, and freezing temperatures do their best to wreck havoc on my spirit (and my skin). So what’s a California Girl to do? Fight back. I’ve built up an arsenal against the Winter Blues.
My mother doesn’t usually worry about me (openly anyway). She knows I’m a big girl with 23 years of gathering street smarts. The only time I ever got “I’m worried about you in big New York City” phone calls was last winter. It’s a huge New York cliché that everyone here wears black, and nothing but. It’s a cliché I must defy when it’s already colorless outside. My mother worried I’d get mugged due to my vibrant show of color in a sea of black; my winter coat for my first 5 winters was bright pink.
The only way anyone recognized me around my college campus was because of this coat. It was “my thing” and there was no way I was retiring “my thing” to join the sea of black. Mom. It’s “my thing”. No one’s going to mug me because of my coat! Really! But by the end first February in NYC I was faced with a good news/bad news situation. The good news: I had not so much as witnessed a mugging. Bad news: my coat was nearing unwearable. It was showing signs of being loved too much the 5 years of wear, becoming threadbare in key places. Then the front zipper broke, the last straw . To my chagrin and my mother’s pleasure, I retired my little pink coat. Unable to find a bright color coat I liked, I settled for a gray replacement. I found it at a thrift store, the fit was great, and it was really cheap compared to retail coats I only kinda liked anyway. Some compromise had to be made and so I gave in to gray.
Out on the streets in my new coat I was protected against the cold but the gray threatened to swallow me up. Without my little pink coat I lost my first line of defense against the bleakness. I tried to replace it with little pink gloves and a little pink hat but I was still missing something. Fortunately the colors of spring arrived soon enough and made everything right, putting the issue off until this winter, when colorlessness took over the city again and I was once again lost in the gray.
Until I found this bag.
Embroidered with bright, colorful flowers this bag just screams “Fuck you winter! You can’t bring me down!” I love it like I love New York in the summer. I carry it like a badge, a shield against the Winter Blues (gray really). So far Winter Blues: 0, Me: 1!
Upcoming: Eats to keep your insides warm!