Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cold. Expensive.

I’m back in New York after five months in Thailand, three weeks in Texas and four days in San Francisco. Coming back wasn’t as painful as it was this time last year, when I contemplated dropping out of grad school mainly because it required me to live in New York. That’s as harsh a review of a place as you can get.

This time it was only painful in terms of regulating my body temperature. It was 23 degrees the day I flew into JFK, and today it was 16. I hear it’s much worse in the Midwest, but I’m not counting my blessings. I’m ungrateful for the fact that it’s not below zero. It’s so cold here that I get angry when I feel the outdoors coming to greet me when I exit the subway or my apartment. I feel violated by how cold it is. It offends me.

But, it does make me grateful for warm things, like a down coat, tall boots, my oddly large collection of SmartWool socks, and fuzzy slippers.

Yesterday I was at Fairway – an “inexpensive” grocery store in New York – and started getting angry. Avocados are $2. Apparently that really is cheap compared to Whole Foods, where they go for $2.50 or $3. I mean, who is stupid enough to pay that much for an avocado? The answer to that – a lot of New Yorkers – only leads me to the conclusion that I’m living in a city of 8 million stupid people. Which then makes me even more irritable, especially because I’m often stupid enough to pay ridiculous sums for ordinary items as well. I just dropped $10 on a tiny box of dried cranberries mixed with dried blueberries. Why? After all, raisins are so much cheaper, and taste much worse. But everyone succumbs to the insanity eventually.

Case in point: In Bangkok I would get annoyed whenever I’d come out of a BTS station and the person in front of me would be walking down the stairs slowly. I'd think, “What are you, a turtle?” Plus, everyone knows it takes way more energy to go down stairs slowly than to trot down and let gravity do the work. Anyway, why does any able-bodied young man or woman need to go slow? Don’t they have a life to get to?

That’s when I realized that New York had seeped into me, just a little. I remember arriving home from Kenya, stepping off the plane in Houston and noticing everyone speed-walking past me. In retrospect they were probably walking at a normal speed and I was walking slowly. But I do remember thinking, why is everyone in such a hurry? Are they so excited to get to immigration so they can stand in line?

Like everyone else in the United States of America, I resolved to exercise more in the New Year. Catherine, my brother’s girlfriend, pointed out that in order for resolutions to work, they must be quantified. For example, “I resolve to exercise twice a week.”

Well, more is a quantity. In my case, it means any number greater than zero.

Actually, I had the idea to use the current temperature to guide my workouts, because doesn’t everyone want to merge her disdain for winter with her disdain for indoor gyms? Today when I went to the gym it was 17 degrees outside, so I did 17 repetitions of everything – sit-ups, leg lifts, weights, etc. Sadly, 17 reps at a time are still too many for me. This is either a sign for me to get more fit – or hope for colder weather.

Wait. That can’t be right.

1 comment:

kate said...

I love SmartWool socks, they are so comfortable
This is the last pair I bought Smartwool Adrenaline Heavy Crew