Never one to shy away from a dare - especially one made under the influence of a rather poky Mojito - I found myself traipsing about Toronto the other day adorned as such:
It's kind of a running joke with my sister that for years now, whenever I come back to Toronto for a visit, I derive a rather primitive joy from power walking through the city's downtown, shoving aside dawdling,waddling passersby as I (earphone clad of course) rework my own version of Massive Attack's 'Unfinished Sympathy'.
However in my case it's more like 'Unfinished Shopping' as whenever I'm here I get this kind of 'Betty Crocker on Crack' panic, and feel I can't rest easy until my suitcase is bulging with baking supplies and other foodstuffs not available in the U.K.
Whereas others might flit about buying designer wares, I scamper excitedly through giant grocery stores, filling baskets to the brim, which eventually become too heavy to lug around, thus forcing me into transferring goods into a giant steel trolley, which even I can't pretend will translate into an acceptable luggage allowance of 23kilos at the airport.
My sister always smirks when she catches sight of the mounds of bags propped up by my suitcase after such excursions. I think - no sorry, know for a fact - she thinks me a mentalist, but she also knows by now that somehow, I always get the stuff back home.
There's the time that I sat with a giant glass biscuit jar stuffed full of 'Freezies' on my lap for the entire eight hour flight. And the time I wore not one but three winter jackets (one of which had a fluffy Eskimo hood) home in the dead of summer - shuffling through security like a Marshmallow Man - thereby necessitating an unfortunate detainment for questioning. And of course the time I almost missed my flight running through the airport with pockets stuffed full of lingerie which I couldn't cram into my luggage, and had to endure the humiliation shortly after take off, of a man three rows ahead quietly returning my satin pink push-up bra which had fallen in the aisle as I boarded.
When it comes to luggage, where there's an iron-clad will, there's a way - even if it means wearing a 'Jaktogo'. Seriously...check it out...it's on my wish list for Christmas:
As a child I vowed that one day I would live in London. My father had adored practicing medicine in London for seven years before I was born, but ventured to Toronto for a six month research project, met my Canadian mum and the rest is history. Blame the bands, the lifestyle, the culture, the accent...even biting sarcasm. Whatever it is, it got hold of me when I was but a wee thing, and when the husband and I permanently decamped in '96, we didn't look back...not even once.
So, I found it fitting that I should at the very least make my 'City Crush' public, and proudly wear an overpriced (thanks for springing for it Sis!) piece of 'Toronna Tat', proudly proclaiming my stance.
What I neglected to realise, until after an hour or so of wearing it in public, was that when paired with a somewhat bold hat, big sunnies and lashings of my usual lipstick, certain male members of the public would find it too difficult to refrain from calling out, "She loves to...______!!"(insert various lewd rejoinders).
(The bloody shirt designers had unfortunately decided not to spring for the two periods/full stops needed in order to read 'T.O.' instead of 'To...', thereby proving too tantalising not to comment upon for some.)
Oh well. I still love my shirt, and plan on wearing it in London too. And my suitcase is going to once again prove a logistical challenge to pack.
And today, even though I'm off to the dentist shortly, I can't help but feel a touch smug that the sun is blazing hot here in T.O. whilst in London it's about to be a deluge for the next three days and there are rumours that more tube strikes are imminent.
See why I love T.O.?