Now that the temperatures have dropped a whopping 40-degrees overnight, it looks like we might actually be headed toward winter after all.
I love sweater weather.
I love sweaters.
But, all my sweaters have to be cotton or a synthetic blend, because I can’t handle wool.
And, “can’t handle” is putting it mildly.
I can tell you with a single touch whether or not something has wool in it. Not only does it have a distinct feel, but the wool makes a sound in my head. It’s a jarring, unpleasant noise.
I can tell with a mere touch.
Wool is scratchy to me. “Scratchy” is putting it mildly. It makes me itch with a feeling a thousand times worse than a mosquito bite. It feels as though it’s prickly and rough and has sharp pointy edges. Even the softest looking wondrous wool sweater feels like shards of glass.
Yes, even cashmere and really good-quality wool.
So, imagine that feeling combined with the irritating sound screaming in my ears, and you might be close to understanding my feelings toward wool.
I don’t think I’m allergic to wool. But, sometimes I say that. It’s easier than trying to explain what really happens in my head. And all over my body. I don’t break out in hives, but I may as well, because the urge to scratch off all my skin is very real. I can wear Lanolin hand-cream, so I guess I’m not really allergic. I’m allergic to my reaction to wool. But, at this point, that’s just a semantically technical detail.
“Would I like to wear that scarf? No thanks. I’m allergic to wool.”
See? That’s much easier and I don’t sound quite so…
What’s the word?
…oh, yeah. Crazy.
I remember when I was a little girl, my grandmother gave me the most beautiful wool blanket for my bed. It was a smoky-bluish color. It was gorgeous. It was such a thoughtful gift, but I had to give it back. It couldn’t be on my bed without causing me to scratch myself into a fit. Even through the sheets I could feel it buzzing, and just touching it with my hands to adjust it was a horrible experience.
I remember wearing one of my mother’s wool skirts. If I had a slip on, I was kind of okay, but I still had troubles with that little tiny part of the hem that would hang down and brush against my leg, and if I didn’t have a shirt tucked in, the waste band would threaten to eat me alive.
Against my better judgment, I do have a wonderful wool coat. If I have my scarf or collar adjusted just right and my sleeves pulled down, I can be out in public without having a panic attack. But, I have to concentrate. This coat is worth the sacrifice. Few things are worth the suffering. It’s lined and gorgeous.
And so warm! I wish I could wear wool! Really, I do!
One of our friends didn’t believe me when I told him I was hyper-sensitive to wool. One day, while shopping with us, he kept asking my husband if the hats on that table over there were a wool blend. My hubby looked at me with a smile.
“You’re asking the wrong person,” he said nodding over to me. “I can’t tell, but she’s the one with the super-power. Ask her.”
“Super-power? What do you mean?”
“She can tell you in a single touch which ones are wool.”
My friend didn’t believe us. So, I showed him. I went through every hat on the table, only touching once.
“Wool, wool, wool, not-wool, wool, not-wool, wool.”
And, so on. He double checked the labels, and I got every one of them right. He thought that was pretty cool…and helpful. He asked how I did it.
“Well, can’t you hear that?” I’d say.
“That shrieking noise. Wool makes a horrible noise in my head. It’s kinda like a screeching REEEEEEEEEEEE noise,” I said while curling my fingers into claws and scratching the air.
He just shook his head.
“Plus, can’t you feel how scratchy these are??”
He insisted they were soft. All of them. He honestly couldn’t tell a difference.
My hubby has me find wool socks for him, so he’s familiar with my abilities, but when he’s not bragging about my super-power, he likes to torture me. He likes to give me bear hugs in his beautiful sweaters. His beautiful scratchy horrifying sweaters.
One night, as I was screaming and trying to escape his clutches, Claire asked what was going on. I told her that Daddy was trying to rub his sweater on my face. Not wanting to sway her opinion either way about wool, I didn’t say why I didn’t like it.
“I wanna touch Daddy’s sweater!” she shrieked.
So, she did.
“Claire, was that soft or scratchy,” he asked.
Maybe she’s inherited my super-power. For her sake, I hope she hasn’t. I hope she’s been spared. Time will tell, I guess.
In the meantime, I’ll cuddle under my fleece blanket in my nice cotton sweaters and synthetic-blend socks. And, you can have the wool.
Thanks, but no, thanks. I’m allergic.
Today is Day 21 of 30 in the NaBloPoMo Challenge! Check it out and/or join in the fun!