Monday, April 26

I went to the swap meet at Laney College for the first time this Sunday. Partly because I read how utterly scrumptious the food was and also to check out stuff for Burning Man.

 I walked there with two enthusiastic friends. It was a brilliantly sunny warm day that grew hot the moment we turned out of the breeze.

 I had on this hat

I knew that I looked like everyman’s crazy Auntie Mae, but I didn’t care because when the sun has the sky to herself and I’m going to be outside for a time, I need and want a hat.

The sights were fantastic. Tools, hot bikes and electronics, stuff you’d get at Costco like 24 packs of toilet paper, huge bottles of shampoo, cleaning stuff; socks, tee shirts, flea market tsotchkes, shoes, toys, books, cd’s, dvd’s–tons of stuff that if lined up would surely circle the globe or at least Lake Merritt. It took us a while to find the highly sought after food trucks, but we did.

 I experienced a little magic. I ate my sliced mango, salt, chilies and lime and let my mind follow my taste buds to Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala…

 Up and down the rows we went. This is the place I know I’ll find boots and plenty of filmy, funky, light, breezy, flowy type stuff to wear on the playa. 

It got more crowded, the sun rose higher, it was 1000 degrees. I wondered, if I was so hot here, how would I make it in the desert for a week?

I finally found the truck with horchata, it tasted like cool nectar. I realized wearing filmy, funky, light, breezy, flowy type stuff would be much more comfortable on the playa than my armour-like brushed cotton shorts and sweater around my waist.

We all three walked slower and slower and looked longer and longer at stuff displayed under shade structures.

I tried on a hat like thisI was instantly at least 10 degrees cooler if not more; my head was cool, my shoulders, upper back and chest were completely shaded. It really wasn’t a hat; it was a personal portable shade structure.

However, this is a tricky style to pull off unless you’re

These hats are a little pricey, no swap meet bargains.  I’ve seen them at art festivals too. I guess you’re paying for a lot of hat material-you’re actually paying for two hats, or a small canopy. They’re expensive when you consider they might disappear in a dusty gust on day one or any day on the playa.  But it’s also the perfect place to take that hat.

I think the secret to wearing the portable tent on your head is having the right clothes and the correct amount of clothes; filmy, lingerie-y, flowy, fantasy-like, anything-goes-on-the-playa clothes. I’d attach some type of chin strap to tie it on; although I can see myself levitating if a little twister hit me exactly right, kind of like her-

I’ve now talked myself out of this hat twice; a year ago at the above mentioned art festival and now this weekend.

Of course when I didn’t get it, I wouldn’t shut up about it. My friend said I needed to get the hat. When I asked where I would wear it, she reminded me that it didn’t matter.  “You just need to have it.”   She’s very smart.

So I’m going to get that hat.  Or one like this

Or this

And hope I don’t look like this

 “Life is like a new hat. You don’t know if it suits you if you keep trying it on in front of your own mirror.”  Shirley McLaine.


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