While waiting at a red light, on the corner of Innes and Mahaley â€“ here in Salisbury, NC â€“ I noticed my odometer was almost all 2’s. Even with the dangling 7 â€“ the outlier â€“ how often does that happen? In any case, I was just sitting there. So I took a picture.
This was October 17, 2008, just a few weeks before that historic election.
So much has changed in 162 days.
I took another picture today. March 28, 2009. The odometer shows 228,750.
I’ve driven 6,523 miles. That’s a bit more than 40 miles per day.
Feels like more.
I made one trip to Columbia, South Carolina. Other than that, all of my driving was in Salisbury, Concord, Mooresville, Kannapolis, or Huntersville.
I got two tickets. Both in Huntersville. I left the car running and delivered Coffee News to a salon. I got in a conversation with the stylist. It’s against the law to leave your keys in the car, much less leave it running. I was also parked on the wrong side of the street. The cop was quite angry. It turns out my insurance had lapsed â€“ sixth months earlier â€“ for a few days. So he took my plate. He felt a lot better after that. I drove 45 minutes back to Salisbury without a license plate. This was an honest mistake that the state has found in its heart â€“ after some paperwork, a temporary tag, and a hearing â€“ to forgive.
What’s the lesson here? Always pay Geico on time. Never park funny and then pause to chat with a hair stylist. Appreciate how remarkable this car is. It needs the exhaust manifold replaced. The AC only works part of the time. But overall it does an amazing job.
My hat is green. It’s wool. Very sturdy. It keeps my head warm in the winter. It keeps my head dry in the rain (like today).
I’ve had this hat for about twenty-five years. The leather band inside is held in by a couple of threads. I sewed these threads some years ago. The originals are long gone.
I had another hat, exactly like this one, that I bought in Austria in 1976. I was with my father and my mother when I bought that hat (my father certainly paid for it). We had a good laugh over that hat. I wore it. In the early 80’s, I lost it. Luckily, Tapi — my former exchange student/brother/roommate — was living and working in Austria. One day he called and I asked him to please send me a Tyrolean hat. He did. The feather is long gone (probably the first year).
In our early years together â€“ my hat and me â€“ it was a novelty. Perhaps a fashion statement. I was younger then, more concerned about my image â€“ and did not wear my hat that much.
Once, the school at which I taught celebrated â€œhat day.â€œ My hat won high praise from the seventh and eighth graders (kids have always loved my hat). However, I had worn the hat because it was a cold morning. I didn’t know it was “hat day.”
The fashion and novelty wore off years ago. Now, it’s purely a hat. And a damn good one. I have other hats â€“ and I’ve worn them from time to time â€“ including a cap from Britain and a toboggan that proclaims my alma mater (for cold ears on long walks in winter â€“ but only when it’s on the bitter side). Mostly, though, I only wear one hat. This one. It’s the best.