DRESSING FOR NEW YORK IN WINTER


 This is the most Payson and I have traveled in a short time. A 6 days sailing trip to Catalina, and after a break of three days in which the main tasks were taking care of business and repacking, an almost two week trip to New York, just for the hell of it. I have been mulling over the difference between my packing strategies for both.
Catalina was simple: it was warm, and camping-like, though Payson and I stayed at a hotel for five nights after we landed in Catalina; there wasn’t much space on the boat and Steve and Melanie, who sailed us over, had their two twin daughters visiting over thanksgiving. The boat was 31 feet, and though they generously offered to put us up in one of the two cabins, + the couches that turned into beds, I decided I needed for privacy for my always-secret-agenda: which was to get up in the morning and write. I took two, maybe three changes, the necessary meds, and some favorite treats.
I am not going to live any differently in New York, I told myself while I was packing for New York. We have an apartment, and because of the cold, I am going to spend a great deal of time in it because my favorite holiday is that in which I can hole up and go slowly, rest, write, stretch, and when I feel like it, venture out. Other than two appointments for which I feel I need to look a little dressy, and some hanging out with friends, I wouldn’t need much.
Why then did I sweat so much over my wardrobe? New York! Embedded subliminal images of glamor that you feel you need to keep up with. I feel cold, so I had to be warm, but when I tried on my long down jacket, Payson said I looked like a Gollum. Very appropriate word, not only in the Yiddish sense, but also in the Indian. Gol in Hindi means round. I do not consider myself slim, having much too much of an Indian body; but reflux keeps me from putting on too much weight, thank heavens.
I felt bad, only because I was thinking — New York! The Big Apple! If one is not aware – and I wasn’t – one acts out of the unconscious part of the psyche in which media images guide one’s actions. For example, whenever I shopped earlier and tried on clothing, I imagined myself in different scenarios, sparkling in it. I imagined so and so being envious of my outfit and on and on. Now, I buy for comfort, pleasing only myself, and pleasing myself well. 
So I ended up packing more than I should have.  I wanted to look good. Of course, and why not? I like to keep up, not let myself go.

But this weather makes us all look like Gollums. You have to bundle up, put on layers upon layers, and cover yourself from head to toe. Warmth is of the essence, not fashion.
A lovely snow flurry is falling as I look out of the window right now, not bundled up, but warm and cozy inside with a cup of chai. 

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