Yes, I’m writing about a hat, my hat to be precise. The hat. I purchased it about six weeks ago, June 2nd to be again precise. In an unexpected turn of events I find I’ve become overshadowed by my hat. Seriously, there are those moments in your life you never see coming.
I own a visor I often wear when I ride my bike or take walks and have always been pleased with how it looks on me. On the other hand, hats have seldom looked okay.
The big floppy hats? I love them, but when I put one on it looks like I have a flying saucer on my head. Believe me, I have several of them hanging on my wall. They’ve become decoration. It’s possible this is tied to having a head shaped like a beachball.
Sure, there’s the occasional hat worn for special occasions. I have a couple of western hats (I live in Montana, after all) that look okay. There was even the top hat I decorated for halloween last year. Again, okay, but not especially practical.
This is about more than appearance given the mere mention of the sun sets me to smoldering. As I reported last month, I had a carcinoma removed from my back. That’s reason enough to wear a big sun hat, but … okay, there’s vanity involved.
And then it happened…
I was clothes shopping (yes, more vanity) and stumbled across several hats with brims narrower than your typical sun hat and that further narrowed in the back. It also had a black ribbon around it that draws the eye in. At least, I assume that’s what it does. The bow in the back was just the kind of quirky extra that I like.
It was literally one of those moments when you walk away, but curiosity pulls you back. Given it had a brim at all, I assumed it’d look terrible on me, but was shocked. Not too bad!
I went straight to the check-out afraid someone would try and take it from me. From there, I hurried to my car, removed the tag, and put it on. It still worked. It wasn’t wishful thinking in the store.
Thirty minutes later, and in a different store, I received my first compliment from a stranger. That was a first. Strangers never compliment me on anything I wear. To celebrate, I retreated to an empty aisle and took my first selfie with what had already become the hat. I think I was convinced I might die without having taken the hat and I.
Nine days later I blacked-out at work. Lying on the floor, my deepest concern was that I’d crushed my hat when I fell over backwards. You can imagine my relief when my supervisor held it up for me. It was okay. The next day, at a follow-up visit with my doctor she complimented my hat as smart (burn protection) and stylish.
The hat was on its way to celebrity status.
Last month, the day I had the carcinoma removed, I tossed it on my head for one of my medical selfies. Hat and I were bonding in new and exciting ways!
The compliments from strangers kept coming and made it clear my hat has a better social life than I have. I began wondering if people saw me at all? Given I’m an introvert, might it be enough for me to just toss my hat into a room as a stand-in? Could I tell people to “talk to the hat” and treat it like a ventriloquist’s dummy?
From there I became consumed with my hat’s popularity. Might it start having events where I wasn’t invited? Might it go on tour and leave me at home? The hat on Twitter. The hat on YouTube. The hat visiting Steven Colbert.
For now, I cherish our time knowing it could one day end. We go everywhere together. Yesterday, Tuesday, I rode my bike to work and, sure enough, a complete stranger complimented my hat. As long as we have each other it’s okay.