My red duffle coat

It was 1994 during the winter months when I was working in Paris that my Mother came over to visit. Like most Mothers she was very concerned about her young daughter fending for herself in a big city so far away. Her concern resulted in 4 heavy bolts decorating the door to my one bedroom apartment. The fact that the wood door was so old that anybody could easily put their foot through it if they felt like it, didn’t deter her at all.

Like any winter, I was never dressed warm enough, at least from her point of view. Having been bedridden two winters in a row with pneumonia in my early teens, it didn’t matter whether the rest of my body was roasting, as long as my lungs where protected. And me knowing better, I didn’t waste the energy of arguing with her.

So we set out to shop for a winter coat. Being in Paris it of course had to be fashionable. After all one cannot walk down Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore looking like one doesn’t belong there. Not that I belonged there. On an apprenticeship salary Louis Vuitton or Hermes just weren’t quite in my price range. “Yes, but people don’t have to know that just by looking at you”, my mother used to say…… and I have to admit, at least for her this has worked very well.

Galeries Lafayette is where she took me (another one of those ‘have to do’ things when in Paris). As usual, our tastes varied, strangely enough mine has always been less ‘auffaellig’ (flamboyant) however I also had the benefit of knowing that whenever she saw ‘potential’ (I didn’t exactly have a model figure nor was beautiful a word that would have applied) then I could at least make it to “somewhat attractive”.

And there they were: duffle coats. I to this day  have a crush for men in duffle coats, mostly due to the romantic associations I have with walking the grounds of old University buildings in the snow, having the gates to unlimited knowledge open wide and hearing former students whisper from the thick stone walls. (I’ve also watched too many movies, Dead Poet’s Society and Love Story amongst them).

My mother wasn’t impressed with the duffle coat idea however I have a slight suspicion that she is equally taken in by similar movies, and so we did stop. Green, Grey, Blue, Brown, any would do. For me that is, because my dear mother had her eyes set on a tomato red one. “Oh it’s so much more lively”, she exclaimed with a sense of urgency. No kidding, if you want to feel like a pylon on a concrete road! “Mu-um, I can’t walk around wearing that, I’ll be standing out like you wouldn’t believe!”
“Precisely!” my mother repeated proudly.

To make a long story short, I did buy it, the red one I mean. Today, 13 years later, I am sitting on the train riding to work in my most favourite coat ever. Yes, if you look closely it has lost some of its woolly fuzziness but unless you are wearing it, you can’t tell. It has kept its shape perfectly which proves one of my mother’s other mottos: “you can never go wrong with quality”.

This winter I am actually attending a University class for the first time and I can’t help but thinking that both myself and my duffle coat feel somewhat proud to be walking the snow covered grounds before the wide open doors of unlimited knowledge. It is then when you can hear a very subtle “thanks Mum”.


~ by spasmicallyperfect on February 28, 2007.

2 Responses to “My red duffle coat”

  1. I have the feeling that the red coat is lined with much love. They are the warmest, aren’t they?
    Very sweet post.
    And I have a feeling that you know about things lined with much love. Thanks Michael and good to see you back, as always a pleasure 🙂

  2. Hmm,I owned a camel one and later a grey one,but would have loved a red one.Yes of course one does stick out in a crowd.But thats what life is about.A dark blue one might have done the trick too,but then you would have had to have found the red Wellies,(Wellington boots)and that might have been difficult in France.diru

    Funny you say that, I almost posted a picture of him but then decided to leave it for a later post….. thanks for sharing, never knew that you actually owned two….

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