This is the ninth installment of Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100, a daily series chronicling my experiences and observations as a new New Yorker. Today, I am writing two dispatches because Saturday I will be traveling. You can read the first here.
I leaned closer to the short, curious forty-something woman in the “poofy” coat so I could hear her question better. We were standing at a red light on a clear Friday afternoon in which the fall air had revealed its teeth. This last bit of information surprised exactly no one except me.
“Are you from Florida?” the stranger inquired a second time. I answered no, confused, thinking my pale skin could not have tricked her into this assumption.
“You look like you’re from Florida, wearing just a T-shirt,” she explained. The woman did not resemble my mother. However, it was as if my mother had traveled from balmy south Louisiana to Harlem to remind me what a doofus I had been for neglecting to wear a jacket on a 50-degree day.
I wore a white T-shirt, blue jeans, and red Converse all-stars. Everyone around me wore sweaters, jackets, caps, snuggies, etc. (Maybe not snuggies.)
“Aren’t you cold out here?” the woman asked before I could comment on her Florida quip.
“No, I’m from the south,” I replied.
My “no” response was a lie. Most southerners, myself included, do not like the cold. I didn’t check the weather forecast before going on a walk. I didn’t want to show the woman my ignorance. Sadly, my white T-shirt betrayed my words.
“I’m from the south too,” she answered.
We had a bond. Or did we?
“But I’m cold,” she declared, while acting out what I interpreted as a fake shiver.
“I’ll be OK,” I assured her, “but thanks for your concern.”
The pedestrian signal turned from red to white. I crossed the street, feeling colder than I had minutes before.
Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 returns Sunday.