39 HatsI have thirty-nine hats, mostly fedoras, some panamas, and a few trilbies. Each of them holds onto their pride and price tags distinctly. Tightly.
Too tightly, I believe. Like the grip of a coconut crab. I accept it, I don’t analyze it. Who am I to analyze them anyway?
I’ve always given my hats enough space which my two former wives and three mistresses never bothered to give me! The women in my lives don’t stay long. And I owe them nothing, I tell myself every time they leave, and I go out to buy a new hat.
These fleeting relationships never made me sad though. Never turned me into an alcoholic or a poet. I am quite pleased with the unlimited freedom and the possession of thirty-nine hats.
I made a separate wing for the hats in my walk-in-closet. I had a Sicilian girlfriend once whose birthday I forgot and bought two hats for me in the last Hawaii trip we took together. She left me soon afterward. Standing at the door, she said, John Bingley, you value objects more than people. Then she howled something in Sicilian; her dog stood nearby, wagging his tail. Nodding to her distorted sentiments. Oh, I hated that dog!
Every summer, the hats are taken outside. Sitting on a wall, the carefully stacked hats bask in the sunlight. They look like a group of young monks on a mountaintop monastery, lost in meditation.
Each hat reminds me of a story, an anecdote—Graduation Day, good business deals, winning the heart of a Persian beauty, buying properties, selling properties, more profit, more gain, less people, less commitment issues.
Lately, I have this strange longing. When I stay awake late at night and pace the long corridors up and down, I wish I could talk to the hats. Sometimes, I hear them whispering to each other. Singing softly to each other. I don’t think they will sing to me. Yet, I open the closet door in aspiration and find only silence and a pitch-black darkness!