We had a cold day recently. It was just at the change in the seasons when fall turns to winter. There was a light dusting of snow on some rooftops, and the weather report had warnings of icy road conditions south of the city.
Like most people, I put on some gloves and pulled up the hood of my jacket to protect from the wind and cold. Other people on the bus seemed to have taken their winter coats of storage or added an additional warm layer to their fall clothes.
And then there was this person.
When this character got on the bus I was horrified. I didn’t know what to think, and I was probably staring rudely as he or she sat down across the aisle from me. At first, I could not quite make out what I was looking at, but then I realized that I was staring and I turned to look out of the window.
It soon dawned on me that this was a skull mask on a balaclava, and I wondered if we were all going to be robbed of our wallets and cell phones. Was the skull person on their way to rob a convenience store? Why do I associate non-skiing-related balaclavas with robberies? Does this person want me to fear them?
Then, as the person in the mask got comfortable and started reading their cell phone, I stopped feeling that there was immediate danger and tried to think logically. By Canadian standards, it wasn’t cold enough for a balaclava. That doesn’t happen until at least -10C and the temperature that day was only at around 0C. Perhaps the balaclava person was on their way to a Hallowe’en party, but it was too early for that at the beginning of October.
So, why would someone wear something so scary on a tolerably cold day, and keep on wearing it while on the bus? The only reason I could come up with was that they were from a tropical country and felt the cold more acutely than do people who have lived in Canada for a few years. Or maybe in his or her mind, they were in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Or, maybe it was the Mexican Day of the Dead; I have no idea when that is.
Anyway, I decided that whoever it was had an odd sense of humour and thought skeletons and skulls were amusing. So, this was an environmentally conscious (because public transport-using) newcomer from a hot country, with a Marilyn Manson fashion sense and a terrible sense of humour. Totally harmless.
Even so, I kept a tight hold on my purse.