Greetings from "The Furry Woman" of Kotzebue, Alaska
Today I went to the Post Office to check for mail. Since the temperature was originally only 13 degrees early this morning (already) I decided to take my new lynx hat and furry gloves (hand-made by yours truly) for a "test drive" to see how they perform in the cold weather.
The local Post office is directly on the waterfront of Kotzebue Sound, making it extremely windy. Across the Sound in the distance, one can clearly see the snow already on the higher elevations here in northern Alaska.
As I stepped into the Post Office, my interesting mountain trapper-style lynx hat immediately caught the attention of one local Inupiat native. He immediately froze, stared at my wild gloves reminiscent of two polar bear paws, and my lynx sitting atop my head, and finally said: "Wow! I never see anything like this ever...CAN I TAKE YOUR PICTURE???"
I remember feeling confused, thinking, "Huh? Don't I look NORMAL? Don't all the people here make nice furry hats and parkas and gloves to stay warm in the winter...?"
He then proceeded to take an enormous professional camera out of his backpack, and then had me pose for the camera as he took several pictures. He showed me one pic, thanked me, and left the Post Office.
What he did not know was, I was chuckling inside as he took the pics. Why?
I thought this was a hilarious reversal of roles. I remember traveling across America on summer vacations. Often we would see a tipi next to a tourist trap souvenir store, with a Native person in full headdress, ready to pose with children for a fee. "Oh, LOOK! Look at the headdress! Look at the real Indian! Let's take his picture..." everyone would exclaim as we got out of the car. Click!
Well, THIS time around, the roles were reversed! "Oh LOOK! LOOK at the strange white woman wearing a lynx hat and polar bear gloves! Wow! Gotta take a PICTURE!"
I'll bet he has fun as he shows all his friends this strange white woman in a lynx hat and wild furry gloves! I had the strangest feeling that maybe this time around, I was the wild white woman and he was the civilized tourist fascinated by my headgear...
Seems like there's never a dull moment here in LIFE IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE!
Bye for now.
-Pamela Rae Schuffert reporting from Kotzebue, Alaska