Mink Hat Friday Round-Up

Two days out from regime change and we’re running around like it’s no big deal. A president acting all normal, like nothing ever happened, issuing executive orders, having a plan, saying things that seem to jibe with reality, which, in other times, we used to just call telling the truth, and here we all are, acting like this is what we’re used to. It’s not like when you finally toss out the boyfriend who hovers on the edge of violence and then you go to McDonald’s for a burger and it’s the best burger God ever made and you feel suspended in some alternate reality for days, the result, I believe, of feeling that one has avoided death and destruction. It’s not like that, although I thought it would be. It just feels normal.

Today I got up early and dressed up in my new LL Bean sweater for a Commission on Aging meeting which was then cancelled because the ASL interpreter had not been arranged for a Commissioner who is deaf. Of course, it is an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) violation to proceed, which I understand. But, during the discussion about whether to cancel, I turned on the captioning for Google Meet for the first time and the captioning was not only speedy but accurate so, of course, I felt compelled to convey this to the group, thinking that the deaf Commissioner could use the captioning this time and we could proceed. But he declined, which was his right to do. An ASL interpreter is the accommodation he had chosen so it wasn’t my place to suggest captioning as a substitute. Still, I realized that I am so unused to asking for or expecting accommodation – for a hundred different reasons – that the captioning seemed like a gift from God, seriously. The stigma of hearing loss, I find, plays out in many ways. One way is the constant making do, reading lips, missing things, forging ahead despite one’s disability, and then rejoicing in decent captioning. I learned something today. So that was good.

As the odd world turns, I own a mink hat. Moreover, I own beaver mittens. I wore both today. I did not wear my beaver/beaded mukluks. I did wear my insulated skirt over my insulated leggings. My husband, after much ado and secrecy and furtive trips to a western suburb, gave me the mink hat for Christmas. It is a hat one must wear with intention and confidence. It is not a hat for the timid. Also, it must be very cold out.

Wisconsin has prioritized people over 65 for vaccination. So, we are in the next group. However, it is unclear when or where vaccine will be available and we are told to wait and be patient. I am glad that the state’s prison population is sharing space with us in the next category because that is appropriate and just. People who cannot protect themselves from COVID-19, like prisoners in close quarters, ought to be at the head of the line. Still, when I see people posting that they have appointments or have already gotten their first vaccination, I have a little wave of envy and find my smaller self demanding evidence that they are more worthy of getting the vaccine than me. I tamp that shit down.

Rich or poor, you can’t beat a sunny day in winter. It would be a stretch to say I pity those who live in warm climes. But when the sun is shining on a very cold day and there is the blue of Lake Michigan and the snow is crunching under your boots, well, it’s fabulous. Like a hundred diamonds in your hands.

4 Comments on “Mink Hat Friday Round-Up

  1. We have found that masks actually help in the bitter wind. Here we are in the group with the homeless and prisoners. Make of that what you will. Still not enough vaccine for the first group over 75 and health care workers. But nursing home cases are already dropping significantly. Praise God since we lost so many in Connecticut early on.


  2. This essay touched me deeply. Many similarities in spite of individual experience. The small world of my family and friends are joyous at the potential of further transformation and change. Thank you, Jan, for nailing the sensibilities so well for how we feel. – Tom


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