The sun and I have never been friends. As a child I once got third degree sunburn (yes, it exists) and I’ve had second degree sunburns a couple of very painful times. I’ve gotten sunburned at a football game in Canada and on the top of a double decker bus in London. Several of my Floridian-born cousins, cursed with our family’s super-fair Celtic/German skin, have had small skin cancers removed as they’ve moved into their fifties and sixties. At fifty, looking at permanent Florida residency, I knew I needed a sun hat.
For many years my favored headgear has been baseball caps, but while they look cute with certain outfits they’re not exactly the best at blocking the sun. We were making one of our last Costco runs before we left Richmond, and I saw this hat. I tried it on.
“Aw, I like that,” said Mr. Mandalay.
The price was right, so into the cart it went. When I got home I cut off the strings, which I could already tell were going to annoy the crap out of me, and packed it away until we arrived in Florida. I have been diligent in wearing it when I go outside; in fact my Official Florida Uniform™ has become a t-shirt, seersucker pants, Crocs, my Ray Bans and the hat.
Or maybe I should start calling it the Hat, because it attracts attention. Every time I’m out and about, I get at least one call of “I love your hat!” I’ve had a little old lady stalk me at the local meat and produce market, catching me in a corner to inquire where she could get one. One of the baggers at my favored Publix supermarket, a young man with Down syndrome, literally jumps up and down with excitement when he sees me enter the store. “Lady in the Hat!” he hollers. “Hi, Lady in the Hat!”
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a cute hat. However, it’s not that unusual-looking or big and I got it at Costco for Christ’s sake, so I didn’t get why it attracts the attention that it does … until I realized that hardly anyone wears hats around here. I’ve seen baseball caps, but never hats like mine.
Hmm. I guess it’s never too late to make a statement, I guess?