February 15, 2012

Hats Not Tats

In my hometown of Oakland there is a neighborhood called Temescal. Temescal is one of those transitional neighborhoods that is being infiltrated by highly-educated, under-compensated twenty-somethings.

I'd be surprised if there is a more diverse neighborhood anywhere in the country. It is a true melting pot of black, white, Asian, Hispanic, gay, straight and every other flavor of human life you can imagine.

It has a lively arts scene. It is sprouting high quality, but moderately priced restaurants. And it has the best fried chicken sandwiches anywhere. At a corner hole-in-the-wall called Bakesale Betty's (which doesn't even have a sign) people, including me, stand in line for up to 30 minutes on a Saturday afternoon to get a $9 chicken sandwich.

I've noticed something in Temescal recently. Hats. Lots of hats. Lots of different kinds of hats. And especially, lots of weird hats.

For a little context here, Oakland has to have one of the most temperate climates in the universe. If the mid-day temperature falls below 60 degrees or rises above 72, we're talking severe weather. If a light drizzle is falling, people run for cover and Priuses start slamming into each other.

In Chicago, you may really need a hat. In Oakland, a hat is worn for effect, not effectiveness.

At the same time that hat futures are rising, I also think I have detected a noticeable drop in the average tattoo-per-resident quotient. Can it be that now that every hipster's Aunt Gladys has a tattoo, body art is being replaced by that old school identity marker, the hat?

If so, I think our hipsters may find themselves right back in the same box.

Nobody has more weird hats than your Aunt Gladys.

No comments: