The Displaced Nation got through January without grousing too much about the winter doldrums. But our monthly guest columnist James Murray, a displaced Brit in Boston, will not let the same be true of February. Enjoy his short post — he was too cold to write more!
Winter seems to me a bloody silly time to start any kind of resolution.
Want to jog? Why not start when you can venture outside without the high-density wool coat?
Want to write every morning? In fingerless gloves I assume?
About the only kind of resolution I can imagine keeping is a commitment to a higher standard of personal cleanliness, because I just feel like taking hour-long hot showers most of the day.
Winter just makes you want to be elsewhere. Anywhere but here — and the problem is that this applies to whichever “here” you happen to be inhabiting.
So it’s nothing personal, Boston, when I tell you each and every balls-contractingly cold morning what you can do with your damn winter.
Just like it was nothing personal when I told New Zealand that it should get its shorts-clad arse in gear and install some insulation because let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how mild it is outside; seeing your breath in the morning is a severe disincentive to removing your head from under the covers.
Winter has the effect of making you wonder if you’ve made some kind of mistake — whether you’d be happier in a far distant land where they don’t have the subtle divisions of “chilly,” “cold” and “freezing”; where their scales start at “mild” and only go upwards.
But the project for this year is, as far as possible, staying put. The tangent-curved graph depicting our rapidly climbing heating bill will not deter us; the face-paralysing wind will not stop us from riding our bikes like the foolish pseudo-hippies we are; the desaturated colours of the lifeless trees will not bring us down to the point where we won’t leave the house, and above all, the lure of foreign climes will not force us to quit the place we’ve worked so hard to get to.
After all, we have a secret weapon: a fireplace; and so we know that no matter how drearily the wind may whistle or how uncomfortably cold the bathroom tiles may get, we can still hunker down, roast our remaining chestnuts and hold out for Spring.
James Murray is a self-described “itinerant Brit.” After a stint in New Zealand, and some travel in Southeast Asia, he and his American girlfriend — now wife — are practicing “staying put” in Boston, where James is pursing a career as a wordsmith for marketing and fiction, and as a non-professional theatre director. He is also a Utopian idealist and SingStar enthusiast. You can find more about his views by reading his blog, Quaint James, and/or following him on Twitter: @quaintjames.
STAY TUNED for another episode in the life of our fictional expat heroine, Libby. (What, not keeping up with Libby? Read the first three episodes of her expat adventures.)
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img: James Murray stoking the fire (his own).
Baby, it’s getting even colder this weekend. As I’m sure you’ve heard, a blizzard is on its way — to Boston! Are you losing any of your resolve? Take care…
I expect James is still in the checkout line at his local supermarket, if it’s anything like mine was yesterday!
I feel for you, and I admire your courage and stamina!. We just escaped the nasty weather here in West Virginia, but winter it is. And having grown up in wet, misty, damp, chilly Holland, I know I am not a winter person. Neither am I a tropical heat person, which I know because I’ve suffered through it in various countries. Fortunately I/we now have a choice to go expat-ing wherever we please, so we’ll find us a more agreeable climate this year.
Stay warm and enjoy your fireplace!
Thanks for the support! Although as it turned out I actually really enjoyed the blizzard! Wading through streets covered with thick snow where cars can no longer pass gives the city a very different feel – it erases all those traffic boundaries and that’s quite liberating. So there’s always a silver lining – but it’s nice to have a good moan every now and then!