This is a story about accidental collections and it starts out with scarves. Scarves and owls.

If you’ve had the grave misfortune of following the news, you may have noticed that one of the doctors leading the effort to fight the virus is a woman who wears scarves. I have no idea how she became a person who wears scarves, but I wonder if it started as innocently as my own scarf journey.

I also own a good number of scarves. It started at a time when I was toying with the idea of being that woman who had some sort of signature “style.” This is crazy since I can’t even commit to a single hair style, let alone a clothing style.

Anyway, during my misguided signature style phase, I experimented with scarves as a primary accessory. The scarf thing lasted for about a month, during which time my “style” was somewhere between “modern mummy” and “aren’t you worried that’s going to get caught on a car door or something?”

Part of the issue was that while there are 43 ways to tie a scarf, 42 of them made me look like either a Russian immigrant or a macramé class drop out. During one particularly complex knot tying experiment, I thought I was going to have to cut my way out with pruning shears.

These days I’ll still wear a scarf here or there, but only very loosely draped with an eye on car doors and wind gusts. Still, the problem is when you wear something as odd these days as a scarf, people notice. Then, when time comes along for a birthday or Christmas, you get that long rectangular box and you know it’s happened again. You are getting a scarf because people think you are a scarf person.

This exact thing happened to my sister, but for her it was owls. She had bought two macramé owls at some arts and craft show, and displayed them proudly. Then BOOM it was owls for years. Ceramic owls. Owl mugs. Owls on sweatshirts and hats. Owls on coasters.

She finally had to tell everyone that she just liked the macramé owls, and had no intention of becoming an owl collector. I was mortified since I’d just bought her the cutest little owl mirror compact, but what can you do.

These days that doctor from the news has had fans start a page on Instagram showing off each of her scarves. I feel for her, I really do. She’s going to get nothing, but scarves for Christmas from here on out.

Winter Prosapio is a writer, a wife, and a working mom of two girls, two cats, and one ridiculously enthusiastic terrier mix.

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