Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The exchange rate

I can tell I've been here a while, because I've started forgetting to recalculate prices in my head.

This is particularly dangerous when making purchases of things needed, but readily obtainable cheaper in the States. For example, this past weekend we went to the bike shop to get Himself a set of good lights for commuting, and some new glove for me. While we were there, I was encouraged to check out the jackets. Since its been almost a decade since I've lived anywhere with a real winter, this seemed like a good idea.

I found a really nice one, spent a few minutes struggling with the idea of buying a new jacket, and bit the bullet. It's a great jacket - it converts into a vest and is lurid enough to alert even the most unobservant of drivers. In fact, if a driver can't see me while I'm wearing this thing, I would predict they are legally blind and, as such, shouldn't be on the roads anyway.

To try and put this color into perspective I have to share a childhood story about my brother. When we were young (maybe 6 and 8 or 7 and 9), there were a couple of summers when Boston experienced a major infestation of gypsy moths. We were alternately fascinated and horrified by the caterpillars that were absolutely everywhere. My brother and I discovered that if you stepped on one end of a caterpillar, bright fluorescent green guts would squirt out the other end. Truly disgusting, and guaranteed to be a hit with all the neighborhood kids. Of course, my brother went on to collect the caterpillars in old beer bottles filled with water and keep them in his room, but that's another story.

Anyhow, this jacket is that type of bright fluorescent color, but yellow instead of green. Beyond retina searing, and perfect for cycling in a city with lots and lots of traffic. I wore it on a ride on Sunday and was amazed at how much more room I got from passing vehicles, just by virtue of being an insult to anyone with color vision. Awesome.

However, the jacket was quite pricey. £68 in fact, and my thought process when buying it ran something like this: "$68 is a lot of money, but it's a jacket and a vest in one, and the color will be really good, and I don't have a good riding jacket, so what the heck." The only problem here being that it is actually a $112 jacket.

That sound you heard was my little tightfisted Puritan heart breaking. One hundred and twelve dollars for a yellow piece of plastic you can ball up in your fist? My sainted ancestors are spinning in their graves as we speak type. Shocking!

However, if it keeps me off the pavement, it's worth it. Thankfully I can wear sunglasses and not blind myself while I'm wearing it.

Heinous jacket


  1. Nice Jacket!

    I liked your post except for some inaccuracies in your portrait of your poor brother and the gypsy moths... First of all he doesn't recall any of that, and if he did he would say that they were actually peanut butter jars and they were stored (thanks to mom's tolerant nature) in the kitchen closet (not his room). But clearly this is all fictionsl! ;)

  2. Oh my poor brother! Slandered unawares on the wide world web!

    Beer bottles, peanut butter jars, same difference. I remember them all over your room under your loft bed my friend. But since my time machine is broken, I can't go back and verify. We'll just have to agree to disagree I guess.

  3. perhaps if you keep the jacket until, say, 2050 and wear it at least every other day your ancestors will stop squealing in horror.

    otherwise, you're going to have to give up your yankee citizenship.

    cool and eww about the gypsy moths, though.