Archive for October, 2010

Road Tripping in Silly Hats

October 22, 2010

Appearing in the Area News, if for some reason they took this seriously. Who Knows When.

Moving away is harder on adults than kids. When our childhood friends and lives disappear, we realise how much more social skills children have than sheltered, worried adults. Work exhausts us faster than school did – many workmates have let themselves become parrots taught buzzwords, or statues afraid to play the physical tricks we did as teens in case someone sees. Behaving is tiresome. New workmates can take warming to.

I lived in one house all my life, before uni. So in the last week and a half, I’ve stayed in six towns making friends with strangers. While wearing a hat shaped like a rooster.


I am the media's pet, which it occasionally humiliates with little pet clothes.


A friend left the Chicken Hat in my dining room one drunken night. I swore to wear it until he said something. From my head, it watched me jog over cliffs every afternoon, hurl my body into merciless mosh pits (it’s the space closest to a live heavy metal band, where fans dance by slamming into each other – it’s not quite fighting) and other hobbies we don’t discuss in public. In a mosh pit, my friend saw me smirk at him, in his hat. When he stopped laughing, he let me keep it. I swore to show it all of Victoria, and write home about it.

In Wodonga, I forgot I was wearing it. In a chicken shop. When the girl handed over my food, her staff wouldn’t stop grinning. I realised and announced, “I feel like a cannibal now.”

The first time I saw a dominatrix show surprise was at the hat. She then waxed a strip out of my arm before I could protest, and lent me a lounge to sleep on.


It helps to know just how many pets the media has ...


I had a ten minute discussion about animal-shaped hats at a kebab stand. We exchanged names. Then strictness with a former Buddhist monk in Yackandandah. Griffith’s water problem with another G-town expatriate, in Ballarat. Bushfires with a once homeless woman in Kyneton, whose roof I slept under. In Melbourne, twelve-step programs with a fitness fanatic. I grabbed her number.

It’s all empathy. Tell others what you enjoy hearing. Humans have always gotten along, and worn funny hats, when someone gave them permission.

I do weird things for you people.


... but it never gets any easier. You're still an animal in another animal's hat.