Ah, fall…the days when the sun is warm but the air is crisp, the farmer’s market fills with apples of every conceivable description, and sweaters are retrieved from the bottom drawer. In New York, in particular, the fall is fantastic – the stinky clotted air of August blows away, most of the tourists go back to their regular lives (in which, we hope, they do not amble down the middle of sidewalks holding up their iPhones like divining rods, in hopes that the wee iElves will send them in the correct direction).
Yes, fall…the theater season is in full swing, the movie listings swell with new releases, museums and galleries line up their big exhibits…
It’s exactly like that here. Except for, you know…sweaters, apples, tourists, iElves, theater, movies, museums, and art galleries.
Stasha’s listicle this week is about autumn but even before I knew that would be her subject, I had been thinking about fall. This time last year, I was still in the just-arrived expat fugue state; I couldn’t really have told you what day it was, much less what season. Now, however, I am awake and aware; I’m pretty sure it’s Wednesday and I know it’s October and thus, fall.
Living in a place where it’s always summer is odd – it’s not even like LA, where a person might want a little jacket or something against the evening chill. Here, if you’re lucky, the temperature goes down to…80F in the evening, or maybe, maybe 75. Don’t get me wrong – the fact that I will not spend February leaping across the slushy chasms of New York street corners is just fine with me, but I do feel nostalgic for fall.
1. Boots. I love boots. Tucked into our storage facility in New York are my adored motorcycle boots…and suede boots, tall boots, low boots, high-heeled maybe-I’m-really-Condi-Rice boots…And while, yes, it’s true, some women here do wear boots in January and February, I can’t bring myself to do it. It’s like having hockey teams in southern Florida. It just doesn’t make sense.
2. TV. We still get Entertainment Weekly here (about two weeks after the fact), so I just got the issue that describes all the new TV shows. True, I wouldn’t watch probably 95% of them if we still lived in the States, but I could, if I wanted to. Probably I could figure out how to stream these shows now, or download them, or something like that, but you know? Most of those shows aren’t worth that kind of commitment. And that’s what I miss, more than anything: the mindless flop onto the couch, remote in hand, for a little quality multi-tasking hour or so. Because a person can’t just watch TV. That would be, I don’t know, sinful or something, wouldn’t it? So I used to watch TV and answer email, or fold the laundry, or figure out why there were legos embedded into the rug. Now I do all those same things but without the company of pretty people with big heads bobbling around on the telly.
3. Apples. Let us have a moment of thanks for the gift that is the Honeycrisp apple, piles and piles of them at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. Or Fujis, or Lady Gala, or… The apples here get flown in from New Zealand, Italy, France. And while there’s something sort of glamorous about that (not to mention expensive), they don’t taste as good as when they’ve been picked the night before. Caleb and I always have an apple binge when we go back to New York during the winter holidays–it’s usually just past apple season, but still better than you can get here.
4. The farmer’s market, in general, in early fall: eggplant, peppers, tomatoes to die for. The last riches of a summer garden, all on display. I usually get my Martha Stewart on, at this time of year: I make tomato sauce, ratatouille, roast a lot of vegetables, and then dump everything in the freezer so that in mid-March, I can have late August on my dinner plate.
5. The New Season. Why “the new” gets launched in the fall, I don’t fully understand. Maybe it’s because the weather gets yucky, so all we want to do is sit inside and be entertained? I miss the buzz that surrounds all new releases, although, as Husband points out, we very seldom could afford to see even a fraction of the theater that looked interesting. Mostly that was my fault: I would price out the cost of theater tickets and a babysitter and decide that no show was going to be worth approximately eight-five thousand dollars. Every fall, as the new season launched, I would launch too: into a diatribe about the ridiculous cost of theater and how theater owners were alienating the next generation of theater-goers because only the very rich and/or ladies on tour buses from New Jersey could afford tickets. But still. I miss the buzz.
6. Fuzzy things: scarves, sweaters, socks.
7. The stinky-gingkos, as Liam used to call them. When the gingko seeds squash on the ground, they smell a bit like old cheese and wet leaves. It’s odd to miss a bad smell, but it’s a very specific, very autumnal scent.
8. Huge, splendid, dramatic dahlias, in deep purple and incandescent orange.
9. My wonderful French raincoat, purchased in Paris many years ago. It’s perfectly plain outside – just a tan trenchcoat – but inside:
I don’t ever get to wear that coat here, because we don’t get days like this:
And that would be what I don’t miss about autumn in New York: cold, wet, drippy, and always the possibility of losing an eyeball to the idiot carrying a golf umbrella that would shield an elephant.
10. The autumn sky in Abu Dhabi, with what passes for “weather:”
Weather. Which is to say: clouds.