I’ve worn many hats in my life. I’ve been a daughter, sister, writer, tutor, advisor, girl scout, first out, Nutrition Nazi, New Age Mama, jackass, sassafrass, weirdo and WILF—(that’s, “Wife I’d Like To F-“), all at various points throughout the years.
Of all these plethora of hats, the one I liked least—the one I don’t talk about—was a purple hand-knit, hand-me-down I wore when I was 9.
In Florida around September, you can buy warm fleece mittens, scarves and hats from Gap bins for nearly nothing. That’s because the kids who live here have no use for them. Florida kids grow up learning to surf and use sunscreen. They know *nothing* about donning twelve layers—long johns, wool socks, wool hats, snow pants, whatever—just so you can step out your front door on a cold, winter morning.
In deed, the only blizzards Florida kids are ever exposed to come in paper cups and are sold at the DQ for two bucks a pop.
But Alaskan kids, they are hardcore. Growing up, I can’t tell you the number of times I had to walk five miles to school in a snowstorm.
… Mostly because I never did—have to walk five miles in a snowstorm, that is.
Contrary to popular belief folks, I’M NOT CRAZY!
But yeah, I did have to walk like 50 feet to the bus stop on more than one brisk-ass occasion.
And that was hell.
… But of course actually riding the bus, once it got to the stop, was worse.
And it was on the bus that the purple hat shit went down (when my lunch came up).
It was a clear, cold day, probably in the 20s. Like all the other kids on Bus 13, I was wrapped tight in my winter clothes like a Vienna sausage in a Pillsbury cresent roll. On top of my head was the lilac hat, entirely too conical, but warm nonetheless.
Five minutes from home I started feeling it. My stomach rumbled and the chunks began rising in my throat. Eyes wide with horror, I realized I was about to become that kid.
I was about to become The Kid Who Barfed On The Bus.
Panicked, I nudged my seatmate who only gave a cursory glance, being as she was otherwise engaged in showing off her stickerbook collection to the seat behind us.
No matter though, in a matter of seconds I had her full attention.
Like a 21-gun salute, I omitted a series of burps that erupted from my mouth just moments before the spew did.
In retrospect, I should’ve vomited on my seatmate. After all, in my later years—aided and abetted by such wonderful concoctions as candy + keg beer—I became very good at puking on people. (Just ask Bliss, Justin, Michiel, Anne, Andy, Blake, Tony, Eric, Smug, etc.)
But no, inexplicably, on Bus 13, in the interim between belch and barf, I’d ripped the purple hat from my head and was using it as a receptacle.
… And then I gave the hat full of yack to my mom.
And then she understood why I never got into the gifted program at school.