My new hat has unusual side effects. Rudder had a late meeting last night, so I took the bus. I wore my hair all pulled back in a ponytail yesterday, so no hair was showing in front of the hat. As I was walking home in the cold night, I passed a (presumably) Muslim woman wearing a headscarf. She looked over at me, began to smile in the way you do when passing someone with whom you have something in common, looked further, and blanked her face to normal passing-stranger inscrutability. I realized she’d at first mistaken my hat for a headscarf! She must have seen the hair hanging behind it and realized her error fairly quickly, but not before I could read it all on her face.

It left me thinking that a knit woolen headscarf would be very nice to have in cold climates, though I suppose you’d have to go change it indoors.

This morning I had some disagreement with myself: my body, for once, was happy to get up and erg, but my brain didn’t want to. Between one thing and another, last night I’d had no time to read at all, and I think I’ve finally gotten my lace shawl tinked back far enough that I can begin knitting forward again. My brain was jealous, wanting time to spend on its pastimes instead of wasting it on the erg. On the other hand, I actually had enough energy that I could tell I’d be twitchy all day if I didn’t exercise. I compromised by doing only 5000 meters, fairly fast, and then reading while I stretched and dressed, so my brain and body are both reasonably contented.

It got me thinking, a bit. The book Drawn to the Rhythm gave me insight into a completely different type of mind. I think its author, Sara Hall, lives in her body far more than I do. She has high expectations of it and it obviosly responds. (Normal people do not win the Canadian Henley a few months after learning to row, no matter how much they practice!) She’s not stupid, obviously: she wrote a book, and it’s got some beautiful use of language in it. I just think her view of herself involves a deep sense of herself as a phycial being. On the other hand, hanging out with readers and writers on the Internet you find some people who think of themselves as brains, mostly, with a body whose job is mainly to carry the brain around and fulfill unavoidable physical functions.

I tend to lean toward the brain side myelf, but these episodes remind me of how much I am a body as well, with physical needs and pleasures as well as mental ones. I suppose that’s true for most people, and it’s just a question of where the balance is for an individual.