Friday, October 8, 2010

When you move, by plane, in July, without a jacket . . .

My new lightweight lifestyle caught up with me this week.

When I moved to Manhattan in July, it was starting over, so I cut loose most of my Denver. I moved by plane: a one-way ticket on United, with two carry-ons, a checked bag and a box.

Sublets are great that way. The place I found is furnished, and I can stay through the end of the year until I find a permanent home--or sign a long-term lease if I decide this is it.

I gave most of my furniture, clothes, and sixteen years of accumulation to Goodwill. But the church lady I hired to help me sort it all, stashed 30 smallish boxes in her basement. The bulk of it is work files--I'm not letting go of all that Columbine research, or the succession of drafts and edits--but I also hung on to some fall and winter clothes.

I didn't even bring a long-sleeve shirt, much less a jacket or a hat or winter coat. The heat was oppressive in July. I was all about adjusting to the stickiness of the humidity here, and the expectation that you not leave the building without a shirt.

(Even in the basement I got some looks--sorting my recyling down there in just my gym shorts, or stripping everything else off to toss into the washing machine.)

Suddenly, autumn struck this week. It happened while I was watching a movie. I sat down in a Chelsea theater Sunday night, spent two wonderful hours with The Social Network, and walked out the lobby door into a different season. It was rainy and nasty, and everyone around me was scurrying around in coats. A couple brushed by with scarves on, one woman wore knit gloves.

It was cold. No umbrella either. They're not really necessary in Denver--I drove everywhere. I hadn't thought about it this way before, but I used my car as umbrella.

The guy I went to the movie with gave me a crazy look. "Didn't you wear a coat?" It was warmer on the way in. He had planned ahead, but not noticed my failure.

"I don't have a coat. Not in this city."

I had thought about it, actually, but only a few days before, when I came out of my cave briefly to check the television and noticed a cold front headed our way. So I texted my trusty church lady, and she rifled through my stuff, put a box together and shipped it, but it hadn't arrived in time.

Luckily, I picked a nice guy to see the movie, and a close one. He lived two blocks from the theater. He loaned me his coat.

My box arrived mid-week. Thanks Valerie. That's my favorite fleece on top, and the loaner jacket I can return now. (And some files I really needed that she dug up, too.)

And I'm wearing the comfy shirt she sent right now. Sure is toasty.

BTW, I shot my first video of my new life in the city this week. Watch for it here and youtube soon.


  1. I was once caught in a storm in NYC and ducked into the subway where I found a jacket that was a knock-off of a Yankees jacket for $15. I still have it and still remember that cold and rainy day that reminds me of one Jonathan Franzen wrote about in The Corrections. His character stole change from a bartenders tip jar to catch a cab to get out of it.

  2. wow, i didn't think to look in the subway. we were about ten steps from one.

    wait, he stole the tip to get out of what, the rain?