The Hat

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.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

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.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

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!

Photo: CA Hawthorne

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.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

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?

Photo: CA Hawthorne

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.

5 Replies to “The Hat”

  1. Pingback: The Hat | Christina Anne Hawthorne

  2. That is a nice hat! I have a theory about people and hats; some people are ‘hat people’, others not so much. I am in the latter camp… I wear them only under sufferance. there’s definitely a style to wearing one, though, and the practicality these days against sunburn is pretty clear!

  3. Loved reading this beautiful piece. I was smiling throughout. The ones with bow in the back are my favourite too. It looks great on you . 😃

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