Grand Central, the 6 train headed downtown. People form puddles near where they think the doors will be. Backpacks, rolling bags, oversized purses compete for space. Heads all turn to the right in search of the vehicle that will take them to where they need to be.
There is also a baby in a stroller dressed in pink from head to toe. Three layers of warmth around her smooth face with butterfly socks stuffed into flowered Mary Janes. She sleeps. In the midst of the noise and the shuffling and the jostling and the impatience, she dreams. Her tiny hand opens and closes and she kicks her little foot. Perhaps she is dreaming of cookies or grasping for a toy.
Large shoes barely miss her. The train lurches forward and passengers strain to remain upright. The stroller rolls a few inches and then back, and still the baby sleeps.
It is frigid today. It is getting legitimately cold, and today is just the start.
I am underdressed. Clouds are few and the sun is bright, so from my apartment it looked mild. It's not, it's cold.
There are long, black, fingerless gloves in my purse, which, for all I know, could still be traveling around the city in the the cab I left it in last night. They save my California wardrobe from being completely useless, or they did until I lost them. I'd be wearing them right now if I could.
This morning there was a short, dark haired woman at 31st and Park Avenue typing on her Blackberry. She wore a coat, a scarf, shoes, but where her pants should have been were just stockings. Black pantyhose. And that is it.
It did not appear that she was searching for her pants at all. She was just pecking away on her device, completely oblivious to my long stare at her exposed lower half.
Is there a skirt there?, I asked myself, and craned my neck to look, but there was no skirt that I could see. Just sheer black hose with a control top panel.
If this had been a conscious fashion decision, would she have chosen stockings so see-through? And with obvious control top paneling? I do not think she would. And yet, there she stood, unfazed and pantsless, as if she planned it just that way.
Propped up along ragged red bricks, she took a forceful drag off of a cigarette. A neon ring of lipstick stained the tip.
She looked at him with pleading eyes, but spat out words that caused him to flinch. Desperation and hatred battled for space on her face.
I thought she might slap him.
Then she pulled a small booklet from behind her back and chirped, "Okay, let's take it from the top."
When you live your whole life in once place, an entire 30 years in an area with four seasons, then you up and move several thousand miles to a coastal state where cliffs colide with ocean waves and fog eats up buildings and the wind almost never stops, it takes some getting used to.
So, I got used to it. I bought lots of thin clothes to layer on top of one another, so that when the afternoon came, and it the sun was blazing, I could remove a few for comfort and still be covered.
I had that shit down to a science. Tank top under long sleeved sheathy thing with another one of those on top plus a jacket stuffed into my purse. For later. For nightfall. When the cold comes back.
I no longer needed a heavy wool coat or giant cable knit sweaters with turtlenecks. Those weren't layery enough. They were too hot. They didn't work well for traveling the 15 miles to a different climate in the East Bay.
Of course, once I nailed dressing for San Francisco weather I moved to New York. Back to four seasons.
And on this November 1st in Manhattan it is straight-up cold. Not chilly. Cold. I can see my breath cold. I haven't seen my breath in years.
The crisp air, the frigid air, the smell of the season--all of it awesome. It pairs well with the gentlemen at Macy's who are putting up the enormous Christmas tree out front. It goes with ice skating rinks in Bryant Park. It is a wonderful partner for steaming cups of coffee.
Right now I am loving the weather in New York. The seasons give me a sense of structure, a sense of nostalgia. A way to remember building snow men with my sister on Rosehill Court until we couldn't stand it then went inside to melt down with hot chocolate and television.
The winter up here in Yankeetown is going to be brutal. No one will let me forget this hard and true fact. But I welcome the gusts of wind so strong they will knock you down and snow banks to high you can't see to cross the street.
It's something wild and new and wonderful.