Friday, July 17, 2009

Hats off?

When I was young we had in our family a book of riddles. This was before computer games. It was called something very imaginative like "101 riddles for young persons" I may have the number wrong. As is so often the case, it is the perplexing ones that I remember, to whit:

Q. When is a boy not a boy?

A. When he is abed!

The syntax should date the publication, even in the 50's we had to seek out our septuagenarian baby sitter to explain. In my youth the proposition that one's essence could be changed by simply lying down was troubling. I have come to understand that it can, puberty helped with that, and I find that the world continues to be indefinite, filled with troubling questions about the nature of things, such as:

Q. When walking through Copley place, as I will be shortly, I'm having breakfast with "The Other Reader," am I inside or outside? Also, when leaving one building and crossing the bridge to the next, does that condition change and, which is really the pressing concern, at least to those of us who have managed to outgrow baseball caps, do I remove my hat or not?

I have actually watched the bifurcated video screen at the top of the Huntington Avenue escalator for clues, thinking that Louis Vuitton's models would know, but have been unable to ascertain what is hat and what is hair, except in the case of the black bunny ears, but they are on what we can assume is a woman. She keeps them on, but women do keep them on, being relieved by the sexism of our culture from having to fumble with their hat as well as their shopping bags while trying to open a door. Or pass through a revolving door in defensive posture (more on that later.) Or still yet, press an elevator button. I say nothing about men's rooms.

Keeping my hat on in the hallway does allow me to remove it on entering a shop, which still makes a pleasant impression, and under the skylights it can still serve the stated function of protecting my aged skin from the harsh rays of the sun. That answers fairly well in regard to the bridge, and as we know, in some contexts the dear bought fedora is never removed- but those folks have evolved a different taste that eludes me as yet.


I suppose this could be extended into a contemplation of the question "where are we really when we enter the mall, is it possible to ascertain in any real sense?"

Meanwhile, I'm at the revolving door so will sign off. As I said, you'll be hearing about that too!


No comments: