You might have noticed that it has been a bit cold recently. So cold, in fact, that even I spent a couple of weeks wearing a ski jacket instead of a fleece.
I say ‘even I’ not to show off, but to mention that I don’t really feel the cold as much as other people do, and that it is all Andy Higham’s fault.
Andy and I were at school together, although we only got to know one another during our two years in the sixth form, when we were in the same history class. One day in the winter someone commented that Andy always cycled to school with his sleeves rolled up, no matter what the weather.
Now, Andy was one of those guys that you wanted to be like. He was funny, he was artistic, he was dating a cute girl named Liz (who was also funny, artistic etc) and he cut his own hair*. I couldn’t compete on any of those levels, but I could show that I was more impervious to cold than he was.
Yes, it was foolish teenage competitiveness at it’s best. But it was also the 80s, the era of rolling up suit sleeves let alone shirt sleeves, and for many, many, years I had a hatred of having anything buttoned around my wrist anyway (I just didn’t like the feel of it). It didn’t take long for me to start rolling my jacket sleeves up en route to school, and it was a short step from that to going without a jacket or coat at all wherever possible.
I’ve never got out of that habit. My wife is puzzled by the fact that I wear jeans and t-shirts the whole year around. I own one sweater and one sweatshirt that are not skiwear. And the one surefire way to send me to sleep is to put me into a warm room.
One day, I will be found stuck in my office, suffering from hypothermia. And it will all be Andy Higham’s fault, for making me this way.
*It was the girlfriend that made him particularly cool. I wanted to be anyone who had a girlfriend. I stood no chance of getting one just by being myself