b Papa Dog's Blog: Oh Yeah, the Baffin Boots

Papa Dog's Blog

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Oh Yeah, the Baffin Boots

So, because Mama Dog is from the United States, only one of which (Alaska) ever experiences a serious winter, she’s been very concerned to ensure that we all have warm clothing to wear when we’re in Edmonton. Because I’m Canadian, I’ve just been saying, “Nah, I don’t need gloves, that’s what pockets are for.” That’s purely reflexive, of course. My first year in California ruined me for winter for all time, and I know it. So, as the date of travel approaches, I’ve become incrementally more receptive to the idea of dressing sensibly. I decided I should maybe figure out where that scarf I used to have might be, since my big coat doesn’t really cover my neck. I figured I should probably wear something under my jeans if I go out at night. I broke down and agreed to cover my head. And I caved pretty easily on the glove issue. I kind of like wearing gloves, actually. It’s mittens I hate.

One of the first steps in this process was when Mama Dog went online and discovered Baffin Boots. She commended this link to my attention and was surprised when I was immediately sold, eagerly agreeing to buy that very boot with no further investigation. Of course, there was a reason for this that had nothing to do with the quality of the footwear (of which I could not possibly be more ignorant). Words being everything to me, it had to do with the name. Mama Dog had no way of knowing this, but when I was in grade three (or was it four?), I wrote a report on Baffin Island, which is the largest of Canada’s arctic islands, and the biggest thing up there short of Greenland. Though I don’t remember a word of that report today, I’ve had an unspoken affinity for Baffin Island ever since. For similar reasons, I remain to this day very keen on Rotterdam* and the majestic Purple Martin. They just don’t come up in conversation that often.

Anyway, the Baffin Boot was footwear made in Canada, designed for use in Canada, and named after one of the coldest places in Canada. Sign me the hell up. I was ready to buy the things online until Mama Dog suggested that probably isn’t the best way to shop for footwear. Girls. They want you to “go to the store” and “try things on.” “Okay,” I said, “but I want these ones.” We went to REI and I submitted to the formality of trying on another item (Made in China! Feh!), but stuck resolutely to my guns. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think I’ll get the Baffin Boots.” Mama Dog asked the salesperson how wearable the boots would be down here. Like, maybe they’d be good for walking in the rain. The salesperson testified to their waterproofedness, but reiterated that they’re made for really cold weather. “Yeah, I know,” I said, “I’ll only really use them this once, but they’re named after Baffin fuckin’ Island.”

As it happened, a rainy period started that day, so in the evening I tried out the Baffin Boot while I walked the dog in the rain. My feet remained dry and toasty warm. I had to step high because they’ve got hella heel, and they’re still so stiff that they force me to keep my legs weirdly straight as I walk, but they’ll break in. If I wear them more than once or twice. The important thing is, they’re named after an island that’s cropped up in my imagination every five or ten years since I was a little kid. Oh, and they’ll keep my feet warm for when I walk in snow for the first time in six or seven years.
*Made a map of the Netherlands out of play-dough.


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