If you live on the East Coast, or other parts of the country where the changes in the season mean big swings in temperature and noticeable changes in the weather, by November you have to be mentally ready for what you’re going to be seeing and experiencing for a period of about four months, give or take. Snow, rain, sleet, hail, gray skies, no growing green things, and less daylight are all to be expected. It can get to you, sometimes, when you know that spring is still several weeks away, and going out for a walk in shorts and a tee-shirt won’t be a possibility for a while. Were it possible to just stay in the house and only venture out occasionally for groceries, that’s just what I’d do. Of course, I’d still be serenaded by the same crappy rap music shaking the walls from the guy in the apartment behind me, and the Italian couple next door screaming at each other, along with the higher pitched yelling of their child, who is in the process of learning that healthy communication should take place at the maximum possible volume. Sigh.
Still, though, there’s quite a lot to put me in a more cheerful mindset this winter. Even if, a year previously, I was enjoying higher temperatures in South Carolina, I was still dealing with a God-awful, going nowhere job, a general climate of ignorance, and the knowledge that I would have to orchestrate a move to another state in the next few months, yet again. This year, none of those things are true. I’m about to start a higher paying job than my previous one, a job that actually offers health and dental care (novel concept). I’m in New York, where I tend to get along better with the citizenry, my immediate neighbors being exceptions. But most importantly, I’m operating under the knowledge that in a few months, in midsummer, I won’t have to move again. Knowing that in all probability, Meg and I will renew the lease here, is very exciting to me. I’ve even gone so far as to do some minor home improvement jobs around the house, something I can’t ever recall doing before…normally, I wouldn’t bother doing any serious alterations, if I knew I was just going to be moving on again when the lease was up.
Knowing that I’m going to remain in this city, in the same place, makes it so much easier to get through the winter doldrums. I know the warm days are going to come again, with their leisure, and the many cultural opportunities, and opportunities for mischief, that this city affords. I’m even excited by the prospect of living in a single neighborhood for more than a year at a time; Boro Park has its charms. Even if the looks I get from the Koreans and the orthodox Jews are equally disapproving, it doesn’t bother me. They can’t get rid of me. I’m paying rent, and we’re stuck with each other. So the remaining days of cold don’t bother me. When I feel momentarily bleak, I just remind myself that it’s temporary, and more than worth it to be here.