Now, I get that there are trends. There have been many times throughout my three decades of consciousness concerning the world around me that there have been items of apparel that have seemed, for a season or so, ubiquitous. It seems like only yesterday that everyone everywhere seemed to be wearing heavily ventilated plastic garden shoes for no apparent reason.
But nothing has really prepared me for the Canadians and their red mittens.
Now, I haven’t done any sort of count, but it seems that at least every other person I see on the street in Ottawa is sporting these exact mittens (or ‘mitts’ as they usually call them). The comparison is skewed, I believe, by some inscrutable element of patriotic sentiment, I suppose. I believe these have something to do with marketing for last year’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but a year later they remain as ubiquitous as ever. Have these mittens become a wearable counterpart to the small United States flags that became very nearly obligatory to mount on ones vehicle in the months following 9⁄11? Is this the best way the Canadians have found of flaunting their still-youthful patriotism? Or is it a practical thing: are these mittens really just that good?