As of yesterday (or rather, the day before yesterday as it’s currently 5am UK time…) I’m in Texas for 2 weeks of work, rest and play. It’s a little bit different to my last trip two years ago – fewer dips in rivers and drinking frozen cocktails and a bit more actual work. Plus, it’s ‘fall’ and the locals aren’t frequenting the rivers so much.
It’s bizarre being somewhere so hot in October – but it shouldn’t be.
Obviously, Texas in October was still going to be on the warm side. Today’s temperature was 88F (31C), dropping to around 60F in the evening. Yet, in Gap and Target the rails were full of lovely winter coats, jumpers and cardigans. As three Brits rushed around Target, it was clear that we were the only ones exclaiming over chunky knitwear and woolly hats. I picked up three pairs of over the knee cosy socks – from a choice of about 12 – and pondered who on earth they thought would buy any of this stuff?
According to one Texan friend the answer is no one, except those going on holiday somewhere cold. Although that doesn’t mean that they don’t dream about buying such items. As another Texan friend commented a few weeks ago: “It’s 90 degrees out, so naturally I’m dreaming about a new coat from Anthropologie.”
Then there’s all the ‘Fall’ merchandise: the accessories, decorations and abundance of pumpkins. All in the reds, browns and oranges of turning leaves – except the leaves aren’t turning here. Who needs a Pumpkin Spice Latte in weather that’s the equivalent of a London heatwave?
Of course, it’s all perspective. As we landed in Atlanta [incidentally, do all you can to avoid changing flights there, it's another circle of hell] the pilot informed us that “it’s a perfect fall day with a temperature of around 80 degrees”. A temperature of 27C in the UK would be a balmy, fabulous summers day to be spent in as little clothing as possible, probably drinking beer. While having my nails done this morning, a fellow customer commented on wanting a “fall colour” given that it was going to be “so cold” that evening.
A couple of weeks ago, while the UK was having a freakishly fabulous Indian Summer, it was easy to spot the tourists in London because they were the ones wearing hats and coats, while the locals kept their flip-flops in use for as long as possible. Temperature is all relative.
To be honest, I’m not complaining. I’ve got a bonus two weeks of summer and tomorrow morning I have the option of a Sunday morning outdoor swim.