Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cold hard talk

Bloody hell it's cold here in LA. And don't bother asking me the temperature because I'm very very confused - partly due to the cold and partly due to the fact that when I learned about measuring temperature at school it was all done in Celsius,  so I know that freezing is 0 degrees Celsius and  boiling water is 100 degrees Celsius,  but over here with its Fahrenheit and whatever,  I have no idea. I just know it's cold.

I've considered that it might just be because I'm coming down with something, or maybe because I'm getting older and then it's dawned on me,  I have become a complete and utter woos.

On a weekday morning, some little gadget that Mark put up in the kitchen tells me it's 50 degrees of something outside and I go through some sort of bizarre grammar lesson with my kids.
"Boys, get a jacket are you warm enough?"
"Is he warm enough?"
"Does he look warm enough to you?"
"Are you going to be warm enough?"
"Is it warm enough outside?"
"Do you think they'll be warm enough?"

EVERY morning. I even annoy myself.

And the worst of it is, I grew up in Scotland, where at times it was freezing.
My brother and I would walk the mile to school in all weathers, wearing the worst type of weather clothing in the world.
Every year, going back to school after summer would be marked by the arrival of a new- or often, as I was the youngest, in my case, a handed down duffle-coat.
Part of me believes the duffle-coat might have been invented by Dick Cheney. A great big heavy lump of a garment that restricted your arm movements and nipped at your fingers with the toggles. No matter what the weather, you were guaranteed discomfort.

In Autumn - or Fall as it's called over here - sure it might keep off the wind, but walk more that a couple of yards in it and the sweat begins. Open the duffle-coat and it catches in the wind like a giant heavy sail, so closed it stays, wrapped around you like your own personal sauna.
Are you warm enough in there?
Frankly, I'm bloody melting.

In Winter when it snows, you better hope there's not a snowball fight, because you'll be done and dusted before you've ever managed to manoever a gloved hand to the ground to scoop up some snow And as for throwing, forget it. There's no way your arms are gonna launch anything.
But worst of all the rain. And in Scotland, rain can make an appearance in any season.

A wet duffle-coat is one of the least pleasant feelings in the world, for the water soaks into the wool rather than running off,  and the coat takes on twice the weight and smells a little like the sheep that so kindly offered up its fleece in the first place.
And there's no way out without battling through the leather and wood toggle trap.
I sometimes wonder if they called depression "the wet duffle-coat"  more people would be understanding as to what it was.

I know my schooldays were 30 years ago and I am certain the duffle-coat has evolved enormously since then, but some memories stick. I'm sorry makers of duffle-coats, whoever they may be, but there'll be no future custom from this house. Just put it down to sins of the fathers.

In the mornings, when I am barking out my "warm enough" grammatical exercise  my 10 year old says to me, "Calm down Mom, there are worse things than being a little bit cold."
And I think to myself, he is wise beyond his years.