This morning there was ice on the pavements that didn't even start to melt until about 10.30. Freezing cold day! I was watching two schoolboys out of the window. They were dressed as if for spring, as is the habit of teenage boys in winter because it proves prove how hard and cool they are. I wrote a very short story about them.
~ So cool he had hypothermia ~Danny shivered all the way to school. He slid along the icy pavement, hands in pockets, freezing frosty fingers feeling their way through the material of his not-thick-enough school trousers. His also-not-thick-enough grey school blazer gave little protection against the 'wind chill factor', whatever that was. Sounded bloody cold, anyway, and it was. Under his blazer he wore a white shirt and his school tie, the same as he did in the summer. His mam had tried to wrap him up in a daft duffle coat type thing and some stupid hat, but there was no way on earth he was going to school dressed like that. Only the geeks and nerds wore hats and gloves, the sort that handed their homework in on time, were scared to smoke and couldn't get off with any girls. Kids. Geek chic hasn't reached this part of the North East yet. Danny was hard and cool, and he lit a tab just to prove it. His hands were so cold he could hardly light it.
Further down the road he met up with Jake and Matt. They, too, looked cool and macho in their thin blazers and shirts. Matt's lips were a weird shade of purple; no, he wasn't turning Goth, he was just cold. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to be a Goth, Danny thought - at least they got to wear big black coats.
Jake lit two cigarettes from the stub of Danny's, and handed one to Matt.
"Look at that gay twat over there," he said, teeth chattering, as he pointed at a lad from their class, shuffling along on the opposite pavement, dressed in a parka and a Peruvian style hat, patterned, with a bobble on the top and long flaps over the ears.
"Twat," agreed Danny, though he was so cold he could hardly get the words out.
When they got to the school gates they joined one of the groups standing outside the gates, smoking cigarettes before they went in. One of their classmates, Oliver, wore a huge padded coat, like a skiing jacket, and one of those warm black Thinsulate hats. He was laughing with a couple of the girls, clapping woollen gloved hands together.
"Your mam get you all togged up for the cold this morning, did she?" Matt said, through lips that were turning from purple to blue, now.
"Aye, did she give you your Ready Brek too?" Jake said.
Oliver looked at him, and laughed. "It's the middle of winter, man."
"You look a right mammy's boy!" said Matt.
Oliver raised an eyebrow. "So caring what prats like you think is going to keep me warm, is it?"
He walked off, arm in arm with a girl called Freya, who Danny had fancied for ages.
Next morning, Danny wore the coat and hat.
And the moral of this story is ~
a) Trying to be cool guarantees that you aren't
b) Not caring what people think is the coolest thing of all
c) Few things suck worse than being a teenager and having to go out in the cold
(ps: my husband is 47, and still refuses to wear a hat, gloves and scarf.... )