Tuesday 25 November 2014

Those Coats Shrunk

Just a short one tonight because I have put it off a little too long and God knows I need my beauty sleep.

I was watching one of those sappy Christmas movies tonight (that’s why I’m late) and the two main characters went sledding. Of course they didn’t like each other when the movie started but by this point in the movie we are all pretty sure they are in love and it is just a matter of time until they realize it. They were both wearing inappropriate clothing for sledding. I don’t blame her, sledding was his idea not hers. They had wool coats, knit scarves and dress pants. Stupid of them in this day and age of polyester, nylon and gore-tex®.

When I was a kid, all that we had to wear was wool clothing in the winter. When we would go out and play in the snow, the snow would cling to us and in a short amount of time we would look like tiny abominable snowmen. I think the accumulation of snow on our clothing was what determined how long we would play. There was no going back out once we came in, because our winter coat was soaked and took hours to dry. No one wanted to wear a wet, wool coat out in the cold if there was anyway to avoid it at all.

When I was a teenager, I discovered the Hercules Army Surplus store downtown Toronto. I picked up an olive green winter jacket to keep me warm and toasty going to and from school and parties. Yes, it was pretty ugly, but it fit in with the anti war sentiment that was all the rage back then. I loved that jacket and I suspect that between the original owner and myself, we pretty much wore it to bare threads.

The next warm jacket I had was a down filled one that was a robin’s egg blue and equally warm. I did look like a fluffy part of the sky had dropped to earth for a while, but who cares as long as I was warm. This jacket took a lot of punishment over the years, with tiny burn marks on the nylon, three-corner tears on the back and the forearms seemed to attract all manner of dirt and grime. Eventually, the feathers compressed and settled at the bottom of the many baffles sewn into the coat, leaving it pretty much useless in keeping me warm. I kept that coat for many years even though I never wore it again. I might even still have it buried in the basement under the back stairs.

Now, I have so many coats that I have actually forgotten about half of the ones I do have. It’s kind of nice having a bad memory, every year at this time of year I get to be surprised when I check out my options for winter wear. My problem now is that only a few of them actually fit me because either I have put on weight or they have shrunk while hanging in the dark, cool basement.

Weird how all of those coats shrunk.

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