End of May – end of autumn, and right on cue the cold wind doth blow, and while we won’t have snow thank goodness (nasty, frozen wet stuff that melts to even nastier, wetter slush), the cold itself is enough to reduce me to a gibbering, juddering fool. Not that it’s even cold by US or UK standards (about 10 – 16C) but it’s enough. Oh yes, more than enough for one whose inner thermostat is obviously cactus, and defaults to zero instantly when not within a few feet of an external heat source. Like your car’s speedo when you take your foot off the accelerator.
I am doing my best to convince myself that it’s all a matter of attitude: that if I embrace the shivering that starts in my gut and moves outwards, it will become an interesting phenomenon rather that a home-grown method of torture that seizes every muscle until I need a trip to the chiropractor in order to breathe again. But it’s been a long time. Back in drama school, my winter posture was known as my vulture impro: a tall bird hunched over the mug of coffee clutched in her talons.
Put more clothes on, you think, but this is only marginally successful. Looking like Michelin Man might retain pre-applied heat for slightly longer, but doesn’t make a degree of difference once the cold has hit my liver (or whatever other internal organs apply).
And then there are chilblains. Chilblains don’t exist anymore, apparently – or not amongst civilised people in civilised nations. The fact that that makes me uncivilised is a mere bagatelle compared to the fact that it makes chilblain ointment like as hens’ teeth. I do have some at home, but I am not at home, and even as we speak, a nice man is replacing the door to my sister’s balcony and frigid air is pouring in probably roaring with laughter as it hits my feet with a Ho ho ho! Itchy-burnies for you, my petal!
Of course none of this really matters in the big picture. When Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un get down to brass tacks over who’s got the biggest whatever and blow us all to smithereens, I don’t imagine my eternal rest or otherwise will depend on the state of my chilblains. But right now, surprisingly enough, that isn’t much consolation.