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The Mom often ridicules me for the lack of variety in my wardrobe and, broadly speaking, my life. It is her view – and she is perhaps not alone in this – that I can adhere rather a bit too rigidly to routine.

This is most obviously in evidence when it comes to my sartorial choices. Whenever I tell her I’ve actually gone shopping and purchased something new, I can hear her hold her breath after she asks me what it looks like.

“It’s a dress,” I’ll reply.

“What does it look like?”

I know the answer she’s looking for here is that it looks nothing like the other dresses I own. But she and I both know the answer will not be the one she’s hoping for.

“Blue.” This is my answer to many questions.

What does the new top you bought look like?


What does the new notebook you bought look like?


The new coat?


The new bag?


Now and again, just to mix things up, I’ll buy something blue and white striped or grey. The Mom is constantly disappointed when I tell her that whatever the new thing is, it looks exactly like the old thing it’s meant to replace. Which I find confusing.

If I’ve gone out to get a replacement for something I had and liked, why is it not ideal that The New Thing is exactly like the old thing? Surely this is the point.

The Mom, however, loves a bit of novelty in her life. And I suppose I do too, it’s just that we fit the newness in, in different ways.

The Mom loves a new outfit, a new coat of paint for the living room, a new kitchen, a new anything provided it’s small enough to fit within her previously established parameters. For me, I’m okay with Big Changes provided I can cling to my previously established day-to-day routine.

So, whereas The Mom will not look fondly on, say, picking a different country in which to live and moving, at a moment’s notice, I would do that as long as I knew that we could still eat dinner at 6pm, local time.

When I come home to visit each summer, I have routines that are specific to this house. I have particular walks I like to take at certain times of day, and I have my summer wardrobe.

These clothes are old and already come with holes and bits that don’t work so well anymore but The Mom is under very strict instructions to never throw them away. One of my favourite things to wear when I come home is my green pants.

I’ve had them for years. They are not attractive. They may have been at one time, but even when they were new, I suspect they had a whiff of ‘About To Become A Favourite’ about them, which means, of course, that they were nicer to wear than look at.

And oh, but they are. They’re wonderful. They’re way too big, and soon there will be holes in them. L’il Sis, who is not fond of this sort of thing, will deign to patch these but only because she, too, owns a pair and understands their inherent greatness.

They are soft, they already have paint stains on them. The pockets are big, they have buttons instead of a zip. They are not unlike a big, wooly jumper, or the old concert t-shirts of mine The Mom likes sleeping in. The green pants are the fashion equivalent of a blankie.

So, I keep them here and wear them when I come home. Because the green pants are like coming home. In fact, they’re so much like home that they have never been called trousers. No, these ae Canadian pants. Through and through.