City Winters: A Theory of Relativity

This weekend was our first encounter with a snowstorm as boomerang city dwellers. We were pleasantly reminded that it’s a more timid urban event, as places remain open and are quieter as it’s just the locals. With no windshields to scrape or driveways to shovel, we had free time. So what did we do during the storm?

Before the snow started, we headed to the Y, along with a significant percentage of the membership. (We think many are still in their New Year’s resolution mode.) By midday it was snowing pretty hard, but we went out for lunch anyway at a local cafe — and were fortunate to snag the only open table. I had scheduled a hair appointment for that afternoon, but of course, the salon was open as all the stylists live in the neighborhood. No emergency snow closings during this so-called Nor’easter!

We met extended family for dinner at a little place around the corner and thanks to the storm, we didn’t have to wait for a table and were able to linger and enjoy our meal and good company.

Oh – and how can I forget the wonderful realization that we didn’t have to fear power outages as in the city, all the power lines are buried.

So the moral of this story is that winter is a relative experience. I hadn’t appreciated that geography isn’t the most substantial variable; zip code matters and I’m liking my odds for the winter of 2017.

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Six Degrees of Separation = Northface Parka

I don’t consider myself superstitious but I do love a twist of fate every now and then, particularly when the story ends well. I recently had such an experience, which coincided with New Year’s so I’m convinced that 2016 is going to be a good year.

On December 30, we had dinner at a restaurant whose coat rack is a set of wall-mounted hooks. Given the chilly weather, I was wearing my black Northface parka. And being a practical New Englander, it’s a men’s small so I can layer however many sweaters are necessary to stay warm.

After dinner, our group headed to the lower-level bar for after-dinner drinks, so coats were grabbed and off we went. When we were finally leaving, I slipped on the parka and unzipped the pocket only to find an unfamiliar pair of large ragg wool gloves; I’d taken the wrong coat! I ran back upstairs but there were few diners left and my coat was nowhere to be seen.

The next morning I contacted the restaurant and fortunately they were aware of the mix-up and provided me with contact information. However, I needed to reach out quickly because the coat’s owner was visiting from California and leaving Boston shortly. A few pleasant text messages later, we developed a plan to exchange our Northface parkas by mail, as he had already left Boston to visit friends in central Massachusetts.  I texted my address and received a most unusual reply. By amazing coincidence, his wife was spending the next day with someone from my hometown. And not just from my town, but she lives around the corner, so a personal coat exchange was planned and completed.

So the moral of this tale is simple:

  1. Plain black Northface parkas are popular winter coats.
  2. Size does matter.
  3. Ragg wool gloves may be warmer than fleece.
  4. And last, six degrees of separation is a wonderful feeling.

Happy New Year!

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