I like to brag about how my Viking heritage makes me immune from the effects of the cold weather, and it's mostly true that I can stay pretty warm when other people are shivering, but today was a different story. Yesterday it was snowing in Harlem and, though it didn't accumulate, it has ushered in a winter chill. There are people selling Christmas trees on the street corners, but that's about the only life I saw out of doors today as I walked around town running various errands. I needed some cassette tapes for a project, so I ran out of the house with just a sweater, a scarf and a coat, no gloves or hat, and I soon regretted it! On the upper west side I found a guy selling books and videos on the sidewalk, and he had a box of old cassettes. $2 each, he said, which seemed outrageous for an obsolete technological artifact of the 80s, but when he saw me roll my eyes he said, "Consider yourself helping out some homeless guy like me." Sure, maybe that's the spiel he uses to push his merch, and I could probably have bargained him down (if I'd had a smaller bill than a $20), but how could I resist a statement like that on such a cold day? My fingers had already lost all feeling after being out of my pockets for just a few minutes. I bought five tapes, and felt good about it, especially when I went to Goodwill and saw that tapes were "$2 and Up" there. Who even listens to tapes anymore? I can understand the appeal of vinyl records, but cassettes? Anyway, I'm going to pull the tape out of them and crochet it into something. (Ha! Maybe a hat for the homeless guy... I could line it with felt.)
So by the time I got home I was chilled for real. My fingers could hardly work, so, although I had planned on painting today, I decided to go see a movie instead. This time I wore a hat and gloves--even thought about bringing a blanket--but the theater was still really cold. When the movie was over and I came back outside into the frigid winter night, this guy walked by wearing shorts, with bare legs. An old man right behind him said to himself, "Look at that one in short pants--he must be crazy!" I heard him and burst out laughing, and we shared a glance, shaking our heads in disbelief. It must be in the 20s out there. Now I'm home, practically cuddling the radiator, and making some hot chocolate. I don't want to go back out, but I have one more errand I have to run tonight.