Hot and bothered

No, it’s not what you’re thinking. Unfortunately.

Dressing for winter here is a skill that I’ve realised needs some acquiring. With all the layers of clothing necessary for comfortable travel out of doors, any journey indoors means a host of decisions need to be made. How long will I be inside this store? Is it worth removing my hat? My gloves? My scarf? The scarf I can usually whip off with a single-handed flourish and stuff it into my handbag. Same with the hat and gloves – especially if I’m wearing my olive-green matching set. But my down jacket, whose double zipper tabs conspire to infuriate me each time I try to zip them up, is another matter entirely.

I almost expired in Barnes & Noble this afternoon after a fateful decision not to remove said jacket, as there had been too many tussles with the zippers today already. As I wandered the “New in Paperback” section and then followed a lead upstairs to the Biography section, the slow but inexorable trickle of sweat down my back told me I’d made a terrible mistake. By the time I left the store I had four new books to carry, several blocks to walk to the nearest subway station, and a pervasive feeling of heat-induced distress.

By the time I got on the train I was almost demented with the oven-like heat wrapped around me. Of course, there was nowhere to sit because it was rush hour, so I had to pretend to a Zen state for another 30 minutes during the ride home.

I nearly skipped for the joy of the brisk wintry air on my face and hands as I emerged from my Eastern Parkway station, coat unzipped, my inner layers of clothing bared for all the world to see. My demure black cardigan, long skirt and calf-length boots seemed as shocking to those walking past me, wide-eyed at my dismissal of the elements, as if I were wearing only a strappy dress.

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