COLUMN: October 17, 2013

I WORE my coat and scarf the other day. When I had left my house, the weather was bitter and sharp as a lime. Tears streaked my cheeks horizontally. And I could not catch my breath as the wind punched me unrelentingly in the chest.

By the time I arrived at work, steel drums were playing outside the office, a limbo dancer was bent over backwards, and the snoutcasts smoking by the entrance were all in bikinis, even the men.

I pushed through the revolving door and heaved myself into the office, looking like the Tom Baker Doctor Who on the set of Ice Cold In Alex, annoyed that I was going to have to lug a coat home at the end of the glorious day.

“Well done, October, you magnificently capricious blackguard,” I thought. Or words to that effect.

So I had an excellent business idea, which I will call Coats2U. The txt-type abbreviation jars, frankly, but I want to appear bleeding edge, so I might appeal to youngsters or Prince.

Essentially, it would be an emergency coat delivery service, and it would cater for people who are not sure if they are going to need a coat.

Then, if it became almost, but not entirely, unexpectedly nippy or balmy, they could tweet, phone or fax, and somebody would deliver or remove a coat within 25 minutes. I’m not entirely sure of the logistics, but it would probably involve vans and the internet.

In any case, I expect to make most of my money between March to May and September to October.

But the weather is turning for the worse now and I managed to wear a coat and scarf all the way to the office this week without breaking sweat.

And now I am worried about escalation. After all, it is only going to become colder and I am already wearing a coat and scarf. Where can I go next?

I was genuinely worried about this earlier this week. I remembered I had my big coat, Big Coat.

Then there are gloves, maybe a jumper. But what if that’s still not warm enough? Do I even own a vest – thermal or otherwise? I can’t wear a hat as my head is freakishly large. Can I get away with two scarves? Would that even work?

In any case, if this winter is as cold as the past few winters – judging by my reaction to the current temperature, I am going to spend most of December and January resembling a table at a jumble sale, or myself the time that woman on the mobility scooter knocked me over into the rack at Matalan.

What I do know is that I am not going to wear a very long scarf. Not after what happened a few years ago.

I was sitting on the bus, as I do occasionally. It was wintry out, it being winter, and I sat at a window seat. The heating was on, burning up my left leg like a laptop PC, and the window was steamed up, revealing smeary libels written long ago by teenagers.

I was wearing Big Coat and a long scarf, and the heat became overwhelming. I was about to take off Big Coat, when a woman sat next to me.

I do not know if you have ever tried to take off a coat or jacket while sitting next to somebody on a bus, but it is impossible to do it without slamming an elbow into the face of your neighbour. As I had discovered the hard way.

So I could not remove my coat. I had to make do with taking off my long scarf. But in the heat I became drowsier and drowsier, and I lolled and lolled and . . .

The bus went over a bump, and my sleeping head hit the window. I snapped awake, just in time to see the bus stop before my own pass by through the gap in the condensation which had been made by the side of my face.

“Excuse me,” I said to the woman next to me. I grabbed my long scarf, quickly wrapped it once around my neck, and stood up.

It was not my long scarf. It was the long scarf belonging to the woman sitting next to me. I knew this because it was wrapped around her own neck, throttling both of us as I stood.

I don’t think my face has ever felt so warm, or I have experienced a look so frosty. It was a little October all of my own.

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