The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

"I know my hats."

So, many years ago I bought myself a first-class chocolate brown Dobbs fedora, which I generally wear unless the weather is so cold I need the full-on Elmer Fudd, or it's summer, and a straw hat is the way to go. After work this evening, I was running an errand, wearing my old Dobbs hat, which has actually aged better than me. As I walked down Madison Avenue (in Albany, that is), I was accosted with a cry of "Hey! Nice hat!" Across the street, where I needed to go, in fact, was a gentleman who was clearly not doing well financially. He offered a fist-bump with a "Happy New Year," asked what I did for a living. I returned the fist bump, and he used the moment of physical proximity to quietly ask for some money.

--Let me just add that I have been advised by a friend who is a social worker not to give money to people on the street. I can't say that I have a compelling response to that, other than, had life been more unkind to me, I could be the one asking. So, when the person seems basically sane and safe--if I can, I do.--

As we parted, him again wishing me a happy new year, and smiling, I said "Thanks for the compliment about the hat." (No idea why.)

His smile stayed, but his eyes sharpened, and he looked closer. In a confident voice, he said, "Dobbs, right?"

I laughed, surprised and impressed. "You have a good eye," I answered, "it is."

His smile became a grin. "I know my hats."

I tipped it to him, he bowed slightly, and we went our separate ways.

Sometimes you get more than you give.

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