Maybe it is because I grew up in colourful countries and and lived most of my life among cultures where colour plays a major role in daily life, but what makes winter in Europe incredibly depressingis the fact that most people choose to wear dark blue, dark grey or black jackets and overcoats. For the past weeks, as the temperatures dropped steadily in Berlin, I have been observing my fellow commuters in the subway very closely.
For every 20 people in the subway there will be only one person wearing a light-coloured overcoat or jacket, and the other 19 are in complete darkness. Yesterday was the highlight and I sat in a wagon with about 40 others, out of which there were only two of us in light-coloured coats, the rest were in black! It truly felt as though I was on my way to a funeral.
It´s bad enough that all the trees and plants around me have lost their leaves and colour, do humans have to follow suit? I find it absolutely dreadful and I have reached the point that when I see someone in a bright coloured coat I have to blink to make sure it is not a figment of my imagination.
If you ask the drivers around the city, especially bus and taxi drivers, they all agree that pedestrians in dark clothing are the absolute nightmare. You only see them at the very last minute, and then they have the gall to get mad at the drivers for almost running them over. I learned my lesson last year the hard way and make sure to never go out monochromatic in winter, particularly dark colours. As you can imagine, my long down jacket is anything but black, it is indeed a bright red one, making me look more like a toadstool or a teapot version of Santa, but at least I am visible to all drivers! If it is not too cold and dry (i.e. no rain, sleet or snow) then I have a light grey overcoat which I make sure to match with a brightly coloured shawl. You would have to be legally blind to miss me on the road!
As I stood at the roadside waiting for the light to change this morning, I had to grin at the woman in front of me in her moss green coat and orange shawl. Yes! That is indeed the way to go – everyone else around us was in funeral colours, so it was no wonder they were sporting the matching grumpy prune faces.