Last week was a bear, for me, for many. First, the US election stunned. Aware of the promises of the President-elect, I reflected on my family's experience as immigrants, which ranges from the present—my own—and also those of five preceding generations, my forebears and those of my extended family who arrived in desperate circumstances from Ireland, Russia, Germany, France.
Then, I had a serious, expensive, heartbreaking computer issue. (Isn't it weird that a PowerBook can break your heart?) Le Duc had thought he'd backed up my computer but that big data storage key was empty—and I lost almost everything, which led to marital tensions.
Leonard Cohen died, and though he had spoken eloquently of his readiness in a moving New Yorker interview by David Remnick, I was bereft.
Other worrying matters piled on. A dear friend suffers from the return of episodic depression, a son struggles to secure enough paid hours to survive, my father-in-law was admitted to hospital in dwindling health.
Reader, I caved and bought a leopard-print coat.
Though secondhand, it was pristine. I buttoned it on and felt much better—even though I looked like Cyndi Lauper's mother. Thanks to a substantial padded lining, I can wear it till our bitterest cold sets in. It does need to be dry-cleaned, but the cotton velours print is forgiving.
Le Duc was amused; he quoted Dylan, in whom he has been immersed since Bob received the Nobel:
"Well you look so pretty in it
Honey can I jump on it sometime?
Yes I just wanna see
If it's really that expensive kind..."
It's not "that expensive kind": $69 all in. That coat is not going to change history, bring back a bard, or provide my son with more stable work. But it did make my friend, whom I met for Sunday brunch, grin. (Good news there: she has excellent treatment and is confident she'll recover.)
In years past, during of jump-out-of-my-skin stress, I have bought something as "therapy". (Stupidest: an unconscionably expensive face cream no different from Nivea.) Then I'd feel even even worse, guilty and furious with myself. So this coat countered my consumption habits and my usual colour choices, black and navy.
And yet, I have no remorse. Could it be that just sometimes something you wear helps? Or is it that it's leopard?