When you do something really embarrassing – I mean REALLY embarrassing – you’ve got two choices. You can try to hide in a hole until everyone forgets, or you can just put it all out there and hope people laugh with you. Well, I already tried digging the hole, but since my profound mortification hasn’t remotely abated I’m just going to put it all out there.
As an Orthodox Jew, I wear something on my head every day – scarves, hats, headbands – symbolizing that I am a married woman. As such, I occasionally wear hats to work and today I donned a more casual one than I’d ordinarily wear. A sporty hat; red, crushed cotton, with a visor brim and a matching shoelace string tied in a bow. Not the most professional of hats, but clean and cute enough to wear to the office.
When I arrived home from work, I spent some quality time playing with my three-year old. Finally, I ran out to do some errands. First, I made several stops around my neighborhood to take pictures for my weekly photography club. While I was at it, I said hello to some neighbors, and ignored the questioning glances I often get from people when I am out photographing seemingly random subjects.
Then I went to the grocery store for a few things. As I browsed in the orange juice section, the grocer remarked about my hat, asking me if it was my daughter’s. Now I thought that was a bit unusual to ask. Clearly I like the hat I’m wearing so why make assumptions? Did he think my hat was juvenile? Then of course I started second guessing my own fashion choice; was the hat, indeed, juvenile? He said it nicely enough, with a smile, so I responded to him that No, it was my hat. Then, so as not to offend his obviously unsophisticated sense of style, I added that I still have a child’s spark in me.
I went on my way, saw several more people whom I greeted, then went off to pick up my sons at two different places. Each of them came into the car with someone else. I chatted amiably with them all as I drove the four of them back to our neighborhood.
Arriving home, I sorted the groceries in our car and walked into the house, my arms heavily laden with packages. I greeted my family and one of my children, grabbing a grocery bag from me, said kindly, almost hesitantly, “Mom, you do know that you’re still wearing the hat that Maya put on you earlier?” No. Actually I did not know that. What. Hat?
I very tentatively reached up to my head, first touching the brim of the hat that I knew I was wearing; the red one with the crushed cotton; so far, so good. Then I touched the crown and I felt… smooth cotton. Unmistakably smooth.
I froze. No. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. But I do. WHAT HAT IS ON TOP OF MY HAT? I snatched it off with a viciousness packed with the urgent hope of erasing the past, most-idiotic hour and a half of my life. There, in my hand, in all its childish glory, was the cute, little sunhat that I had insisted my three year-old daughter needed in her life. A cute, little, pink, flowery, floppy sunhat. And it. Was sitting. On. My. Head. WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME?!
Of course the grocer kind of did. He, at least, asked me about it. It just didn’t occur to him that I was wearing it by ‘accident’. Because what kind of idiot puts on a hat BY ACCIDENT??
I can lie to myself and say that people probably didn’t notice. In fact, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. But I can’t say that about the grocer. So I will find him, darn it, whatever it takes, and make sure that he knows that I would never choose to wear a pink, floppy, flowery sunhat on top of my own hat; red or otherwise. I might, however, wear a pink, floppy, flowery sunhat just on its own. If I was at the beach. And if it was an adult’s size…
So, now you know. Are you laughing at me or with me? Because if you’re laughing with me you are welcome to leave comments here for moral support. If you are laughing at me, well, just you wait. Sometime, somehow a small child will be in your life. And three year-olds can be very sneaky indeed…