Monday, January 26, 2009

Hat Today, Gone Tomorrow

Tis unfortunately true. "The Hat", my ratty old fedora that has accompanied me to more than twenty different countries, is finally gone. As evening fell today, I riding in a bus, rushing through the darkness of a backcountry road here in the Philippines. Suddenly a gust of wind tore through the window to my left, clawed my hat from head, and then before I had even a second to react, sucked said hat out the bus door behind me. There was almost something comical in how quickly and completely my beloved hat was gone, disappeared into the jungly darkness. I'm not entirely sure whether I'd like to laugh or cry about this.

Of course it helps that my hat was probably nearing the end of its natural shelf-life. I'd discovered that the felt near the top of its frontal ridge was almost worn through. The top was dark with dirt collected between the fibres, and sweat had stained in a growing ring about the base of it. There's really no need to speak of the indescribable monstrosities said to live within the cavity itself... best not to wake sleeping demons, after all.

It also helps that my hat had almost escaped me quite a few other times as well. The first attempted escape was on the Makgadi-gadi saltpans in Africa. Aboard ships, trains, buses, and on precarious mountain slopes that hat showed that it had picked up an instinct for travel and constant movement from its bearer. I think when I replace my hat, I shall try to find one that comes with a descendable leather neck string so that great winds will merely garrote me, rather than stealing my hat.

I'm also able to put this loss into perspective. What with all the recent articles about asian ferries capsizing, there are certainly worse things one can lose than a mere accessory--however much that accessory may have been incorpated into one's persona. Things are just things, stuff is just stuff. I do try to buck the American trend towards endless consumption and acquisition, not to speak of the worship of stuff.

Anyway, to this fantastic hat, I bid a fond adieu! I hope that somewhere a young Filipino is enjoying you as much as I did. And I also hope that I will find a suitable replacement.

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