Usually, lately, I wear a straw cowboy hat at work.
Yes, laughably un-stylish, I know. But it's the best hat I've ever found for staying cool in the heat, and I really needed that until I started sweating again (See "No Sweat, No Problem - Not Really!). Besides, Handsome picked it out, so I love it.
But that hat is for being in the heat and sun, not the cold wind and rain, like today. In fact, I think if I wore my cowboy hat in the rain too much the straw would all swell and the hat would start to fall apart. Not good!
So today I resorted to my summer-weight postal cap. Mesh in the back, fabric in the front and sheathing the bill, it's supposed to be cool, but it's not that great. What it will do, however, is keep the rain from hitting me straight in the face and my glasses. It's been hanging from the little nub at the end of the flip-down sun visors in my mail truck for months now. That's how you can tell it's my truck; there's a mailman with cowboy hat in the neighborhood and there's a postal cap hanging over the dash in the parked truck.
Anyway, I took that semi-retired cap down and put it on this morning when I got my route on the road. It was performing admirably, keeping my eyes free of rain as well as keeping the water from running down my face from the top of my head. Marvelous!
About half-way through the day I noticed something. It was raining pretty hard, and even though I had the hood on my rain coat up, the hat was saturated. As I was walking along I would look down at the mail on my arm the bill would drip water onto it.
The water was brown.
My hat is blue-gray. But the water was brown. This hat, that I have not worn in months, was dripping brown water.
I held out a palm, cupped to catch some of the falling rain, and I looked at it closely before it dribbled away. Clear, clean rainwater. I held an envelope out, exposing it rather than trying to protect it, as I had been doing. The white envelope grew wet, and the ink ran a bit, but everyplace there was no ink the envelope stayed white.
I removed the cap and looked at it. It looked normal. Worn, yes, weather-beaten, sure, but clean enough. I brought it close and cautiously sniffed it.
I sniffed it for real.
I sniffed it so long and hard that I dislodged something somewhat solid from within my nose and sucked it high up into my sinus cavity, where it made me gag and snort and run, squealing like a little girl, to the truck for a napkin so that I could blow my nose.
Nope. There was nothing wrong with the hat that I could smell ...
So I put it back on. It continued to drip discolored water onto the mail I was holding.
I held out as long as I could, then threw it into the truck in disgust. I'll wash it tonight, run it through the dishwasher or take it in the shower with me or something. But, in the meantime ...
What the hell do I have on my head? What was in that hat? Because whatever it was is all over my head from the eyebrows up! I'm came into the library for my lunch, just so I could type this, and I stopped by the bathroom and washed up, but man ... I'm sitting here feeling like I should be boiling my head!
Talk to you later!