Watch out for those ears
Sunday December 03rd 2006, 2:39 pm
Filed under: Knit

I grew up in a contemporary house that doubled as an art gallery, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the woods out back for the natural light to flow over the paintings and the hand-dyed handwoven wool tapestries. I have always liked being surrounded by color.

So that’s my excuse.

Reading Franklin’s blog about the moment he decided he was going to knit himself lime-green socks if he felt like wearing lime green socks, so there, I was laughing, thinking, the umbrella hat!

It was maybe eight years ago. We had the kids back in Washington, DC visiting both sets of grandparents and playing tourist. All the things that were just simply there and taken for granted for my husband and me, growing up, were things new and unexplored to our kids. So. Time to go see the museums, look at the pandas, and ride the Metro with them.

We were standing in line at the US Mint, and it started to drizzle. We’ve lived in California long enough now to become stupid and forget to pack any rain gear. It doesn’t rain in summer here. Period. It rains October to April and then forgets how for six months, and when it does rain, it’s always ocean-fog cold. So here we were that July, we were starting to get rained on, which is no big deal, unless you happen to have several thousand dollars worth of electronics in your ears that you can’t get wet. I took my aids out and put them in my purse, but that meant being deaf until my hair dried again; it was too short to pull back, too long to keep off my ears. I would miss anything they might say on the mint tour if this kept up, and it clearly was only going to rain harder. Great.

Just then I noticed that the street vendor hawking his wares to his captive audience in that line, standing a little forward from us, had umbrellas in his lineup. Only, they were hats, too. You open up this small vivid multi-colored half-beachball thing and instead of a full handle it goes to a tight elastic band to put around your head. Look, Ma, no hands! And it was all of two bucks. You won’t go broke.

“Mom, NOOOOO…!” wailed the first teenager to realize what I was thinking. Then the next. Then my husband pitched in, going, “Tell me you’re NOT going to wear that!” But I did. A dollar bill and a few quarters and the deed was done. Cheerfully mortifying one’s teenagers over things of absolutely no consequence is one of the jobs of a good parent.

Nowadays, I pull it out every Halloween, the world’s easiest and most cheerful costume: Mary Poppins meets Jerry Garcia. (Picture later, now, where is that thing?)

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I always wondered who wears those things! ha ha ha

Comment by Joni 12.05.06 @ 11:33 am

You see somebody making fun of themselves like that and having a good laugh, you know they’re having a good time. I figured it was a great way to teach the kids not to get all hung up on being cool enough or not; just adapt to whatever life hands you, and enjoy.

My youngest later grew his hair to where I once snuck up behind him and measured his afro at 18″ across. We have the pictures to prove it, but I’ll be nice to him and keep them off here. (You should see his driver’s license. Very Waldo-esque: where’s the face?) He keeps it short now, but for a high school sophomore at the time, it was perfect for him: EVERYBODY at his large school knew his name!

Comment by AlisonH 12.05.06 @ 1:00 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>