Monday, November 21, 2005

My New Pet

Walking through the Nordemarkt on Saturday morning, F and I came across a stall with a man selling hats. The man looked a little homeless and crazy, but the hats were clean. F picked one up and handed it to me. It was, of course, small. I have a rather large head. It doesn't seem that large when I'm just standing there, but I always take the largest hat available. He found a larger one and handed it to me. He looked pleased. The hat was one of those English riding hats.

Years ago, I tried on an English riding hat while shopping with my grandmother and sister. I was just entering junior high, so I was about 12. I thought a new look for a new school might be just the thing. I asked my sister's opinion. She was ten and told me that it looked stupid. Inthe years since, I have tried on English riding caps, but I always removing after hearing her little ten year old voice telling me that it looks stupid.

F smiled and said, "It looks nice." He pointed to my baseball cap. "Better than that."

"Yeah?" I asked.

A fellow shopper, a woman, commented that it looked nice.

"Better than this?" I asked, holding up my baseball cap.

"That's so tourist!" She said.

F happily bought me the new hat (or pet, as we say in Dutch.)

It's an interesting new look. It's one more way F is chipping away at the Americanism in me, first it was the black socks then the scarf. I don't mind. But with the hat, it's still at the stage where it feels like I'm working a new look.

Today at the train station, I noticed that not a lot of people wear hats here. There were a couple of baseball caps, but none like mine and no other styles either. I felt a little odd, but I kept wearing it. I thought, No one knows I'm working a new look. They probably just think I've worn this same style hat for years.

It really is a nice hat. I'm glad F pushes me to do things like that, working a new look. He doesn't wear a hat. He once told me that a good Dutch boy doesn't need a hat.

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