“Now I go outside,” he said.
“You see?” My new Venezualan co-worker opened his duffel bag to show me the contents. “Scarf, mittens, hat, long underwear… I have to change every time I come in, every time I go outside…”
“Welcome to Calgary,” I replied. To me, this is becoming normal – as much as you can call -30C in November “normal.”
“This is crazy,” he continued. And he looked at me with such pathos in his eyes, as if he was telling me that his wife and children are being held hostage by guerillas.
“I come from a town where it is 35, 40 degrees every day. When it goes down to 26, then it is cold. This, here, is not just cold, it is… I don’t know…”
“I have to buy all these clothes,” he continued. “I have to buy a scarf, mittens, ski mask… Do you know how hard it is to buy ski mask in Venezuala? They look at me, they ask – Why do you want ski mask? They look at me like I’m some kind of criminal.”
“This is a test, right? This is some kind of survival test? To see if I can take it?”
That must be it.