Hey there everyone!!
Why don't I wear a hat even though I have extremely fair skin that needs protection from the sun?
Since birth, until this day, family, best friends, acquaintances and strangers ask me why I don’t wear a hat. What’s fascinating to me is that after I give them a reason or two, they would again ask me the same question weeks, months, or years later (depending on the person). Why? Is there always some revolutionary hat technology that I’m missing out on?
It’s funny, as some people seem to talk like having a hat would solve all my life’s problems, and they can’t fathom how I could possibly not have one.
Of course, over the years, I have tried to use various hats with varying levels of success. Over time, I have come to develop my own structures that make me functional in this society. When I come to think about it, there are so many reasons that I don’t wear a hat. I probably can’t even remember them all, but here’s a quick list:
1. The Sweat Factor
Hats, especially in the summer, make my head very sweaty. It’s not comfortable to me. Some people will find hats having material that produces less sweat, but they forget that this is just one out of many variables.
2. Side Issues
Contrary to what most people think, a hat does a very poor job of blocking the sun, especially from the sides (sometimes even the bottom in terms of reflection from snow). For me, light coming in from the side doesn’t work at all. I’ve found great pairs of sunglasses that solve this problem, so I don’t need a hat to try to solve that problem for me.
3. Contrast & Polarity
When the top of my view is black, and the bottom is really bright, it is high contrast and makes it more difficult for me to recognize things. Again, good curved sunglasses take care of this, because they modify the view from all directions, not just cast a shadow in one random direction.
4. Peripheral Loss
To navigate I usually have to look down and see things that are close instead of looking straight ahead as most people do. With a cap/hat, the peripheral view is lost, which is the front view (what is ahead of me). This makes a hat impractical for me to use.
5. Sunscreen Flow
With a shadow at the top of my face, I may get sunburn that will have the contour lines of the hat! Not pretty. Yes, I could wear sunscreen, but I don’t like to and that just makes far more work for me.
6. Too Many Items
Having a hat means carrying one more item with me, especially when I’m indoors, not wanting to wear the hat. It may not sound like a big deal, but I usually have to carry a whole bunch of other things that most people don’t (e.g., magnifying glass, binoculars, disability passenger parking permit), that carrying one more thing can be one more thing misplaced and lost.
7. Shade & Shadow Consciousness
What works for me is having an overall consciousness of staying in the shade. That keeps my entire body free from the sun, not just part of my face. While it’s not always possible, it is better than walking in the sun with a hat, and still getting sunburn that pains me. What’s the use of a hat then?
8. The Hand Tool
I was walking with a friend, holding my hand above my eyes to block the sunlight and he asked with sarcasm, “so is that easier than wearing a hat?” I wanted to say, “Hell Yeah”, I can use my hand for shade only when I need it, and I can use my hand for a million other things too, instead of holding a stupid hat for an entire day when I needed shade for only two minutes.
9. Personal Preference
Why are people so committed to having me wear a hat? They may look at others in a similar situation and say, “look - they’re using a hat.” So? Social proof isn’t very scientific because it doesn’t take into account each individual’s personal circumstances. If other people like wearing hats, I’m not going to try to stop them.
I know people aren’t supposed to be logical, but some of them go off on a tangent trying to find fixes for one of my reasons.
Now, what can we learn from this? You probably have something in your life that totally makes sense to you, and that nobody else in the world understands (or ever will). Rather than judge by wondering why people can’t understand, we can just perceive what is happening. Maybe it’s just one of those life experiences that are unique to us.
For me, I now see the love and caring everybody has for my well-being. It’s beautiful, in its own weird way. :)
Have empathy for other people’s perspective (even if their perspective seems limited). As Stephen Covey taught, seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Let’s love the world together...
[)anish /|hmed, blind visionary
P.S. Not good at New Year’s Resolutions? Try a Summer Resolution. It’s much more fun.