I don't own a pair of sweatpants. I probably haven't for at least 20 years.
It's a crisp 3 degrees Celsius outside this morning so I have pulled out the winter Long-johns; traditional blue in colour, waffle design, and of-course, with that perplexing flap; designed for ease of bathroom use.
I can't remember a single time in my life where I have actually used that flap. Does any man out there really?
I still own a pair of garbage mitts.
Outer-shell made of indestructible leather. Innards of some sort of matted fluff; off-colour and oddly scented.
Years of sweat.
I pull my thumb out of it's lonely chamber to join the rest of my fingers in hidden desperation: Much needed warmth.
When garbage mitts get wet from snow or the spillage of hot-chocolate the leather quickly freezes, mutating them from their once pliable and soft state to a rock hard mannequin extension of my own arm.
The only way to get them back to their original form is to leave them overnight, positioned upright on a baseboard heater.
My old hockey skates rest on a shelf beside my toques.
I can't remember the last time they were sharpened, I can only remember the grinding metal sound the sharpener produces.
I remember the hockey rink canteen; manned by a teenage volunteer who hands out 5 cent candies and frothy hot-chocolate served in a Styrofoam vessel. Hot as hell for the first 3 minutes.
Chocolate residue left on the corner of my lips.
To me, these are vital items in my survival gear for the season.
I won't jet away to a "hot-spot" : half-assed attempt to avoid meeting Old-Man Winter.
I know him well.
We have met time and time again.
37 years strong is our friendship.
I welcome his chilly embrace.
I don't own a pair of sweatpants. I probably never will.
I'll always have my Long-johns, garbage mitts and hockey skates.