When the Hunter’s Moon approaches… When the flowers begin to wilt with chill… When the coffee shops begin unveiling new and exciting lattes… That’s how I’ll know it’s the one week of the year it’s seasonally appropriate for me to wear my Sensible Fall Jacket.
I’ll claw my way to the back of my closet, past my Sensible Winter Snow Pants, my Sensible Spring Linen, and my Sensible Summer Hawaiian Shirt—for it is not yet their time. No, I am there to dress for the most elusive weather of all—uninterrupted high forties.
“Is it my week?” my Sensible Fall Jacket will ask. “Has it finally come?” “It has, old friend,” I’ll say. “What would you like to do with your one wild and precious week of Actual Fall?”
“Ooh, get some maple candy!” my Sensible Fall Jacket will bellow as we walk through the farmer’s market later. “That would fit perfectly in my interior flannel-lined pocket!” I’ll try to point out that all the flannel and body heat will probably melt it, but you know how it is: when a Sensible Fall Jacket wants maple candy, logic dies on the vine.
“Give that starving artist some money!” my Sensible Fall Jacket will wail as we listen to a street musician under the Washington Square Arch. I’ll explain that the artist is not starving—he goes to NYU and is only this skinny thanks to party drugs we’re not cool enough to know about yet. The corduroy collar of my Sensible Fall Jacket will furrow. “But there’s a perfectly crumpled fiver in my button pocket. I’ve saved it all year so you can hand it to a wistful street musician playing Gershwin!” Okay.
“This is the Fall we finally read Proust!” my Sensible Fall Jacket will announce, so loudly that everyone in the bookstore turns to stare at us. I will have tried to rally by telling my Sensible Fall Jacket it can pick out any charmingly used paperback it wants, not expecting this to backfire so badly. “You can carry it in my wide horizontal pocket, it’s designed specifically for weather-beaten copies of Proust.” Oh well. Better to let my Sensible Fall Jacket give up halfway through volume one like everyone else than to fight about it now.
“Please, sir,” my Sensible Fall Jacket will beg on the way home. “Let me see the ocean. Just this once, I want to see the ocean.” It won’t listen when I try to explain that the beach is like a four-hour round trip on the train. And to do what, walk around in the wind and look off into the distance?
“Exactly!” my Sensible Fall Jacket will insist. “Maybe you could even moodily stuff your hands into—”
“Yeah, yeah, your pockets. Your famous all-purpose goddamn pockets,” I’ll say.
“…Are you mad at me?” my jacket will ask.
I won’t say yes. I’ll just stay mad the rest of the day and hope my Sensible Fall Jacket can tell.
On day two of Jacket Week, it will suddenly be super hot outside again. For the sixth year in a row, I will have timed this all wrong. I’ll drag my Annoying Fall Jacket, kicking and screaming, back to the closet. “No! No!” it will beg. “I’m not ready! Leave me on the door hook, just in case! I want to see the sunset! We haven’t even watched When Harry Met Sally!”
The next day, I’ll drop it off at a vintage store. Let some other schmuck entertain fantasies of a perfect fall outfit. Then I’ll notice this simply fantastic Sensitive Tweed Blazer calling my name. In that moment, I’ll realize that dressing like a member of the Dead Poets Society is an autumnal affectation the effects of climate change will never mess with. There’s even a pocket in there that’s perfect for a Proust.