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Mark this down as one of the things that happens every year. Everyone will gang up on me for not having the appropriate clothing and footwear to cope with the Canadian winter. And every year I’ll point out to them that this is because I no longer live in Canada during the winter, except for the three weeks I’m home over the Christmas break.

I am honestly gobsmacked that this is shocking.

Especially in light of the fact that when I lived here, I wasn’t much more sensibly dressed. And don’t worry, it’s not a fashion thing, it’s purely a comfort and functionality thing.

Back in the day, I had a down-filled coat that The Mom bought me because my little wool ones were too thin and flimsy for the wind chill. A thicker wool coat could’ve been had, or something in another kind of parka, but those coats are quite heavy. And when every part of you aches and hurts, a heavy coat is not what you want. The Mom, tired of hearing how cold I was as I traipsed around the streets of Toronto, caved, and bought me a down filled one from the kids’ shops. It was pretty great. in fact, it was so great that I had it for years. She only threw it away a couple years back because there was more duct tape on it than coat, and still there was a trail of feathers in my wake.

But the really big problem is my footwear. I don’t like boots, conceptually. They’re binding, constricting, horrible things. Everything I like in a hat is everything that’s wrong with boots (and to a lesser extent, shoes). I like a shuffle shoe, something just a tad sturdier than a slipper. Two dollar plastic flip-flops from Chinatown are the best.

Problem is, it’s winter, and flip flops aren’t possible. Even I know that.

So I do the best with what I’ve got. Which is Converse sneakers, and cowboy boots. And when I get to The Mom’s, I also have use of a pair of plastic Birkenclogs that I believe were originally meant to be for gardening but as I don’t garden, I’ve always used them for rainy or otherwise inclement weathers. Like snow.

It drives The Mom batty that I am perfectly fine shuffling around the icy streets in such ridiculous footwear. And I get that. On the face of it, it seems to be something in a slow motion suicide mission. They are, after all, plastic clogs. To say there’s no tread ought to be obvious. There’s also nothing in the way of insulation. But that hasn’t ever stopped me. I just put two pairs of thick wool socks on and I’m away. Because I’m wearing slightly ridiculous shoes, I know my limits. I know I can’t go running on the ice because I’ll slip, fall, and break something. I know I can’t go in the deep snow because I’ll lose a shoe. So in a way, in a twisted and slightly convoluted way, these poorly chosen shoes are actually helpful in that they save me from myself.

No one in my family is ever going to understand this. They all believe that what’s needed is more shoe, more science in the shoe, something sturdy that will help me. But that’s all just a big hindrance. I need to know that by just setting foot outside I’m willfully taunting death. That way, I’m careful, and make it home in one piece.

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