March 24, 2006
Men Without Hats
It's a journey replete with jerks and shakes, clanging bells and the close proximity of strangers.
It isn't betraying any secrets to say that loud noises (that he doesn't have a remote control for) and getting up close and personal with the (in this case, particularly) unwashed masses ha ve never been things of which your dad has been particularly enamoured.
For this reason, and without going into the myriad of uncertain timetabling and unreliable journey timeframes, that your father is intellectually a dedicated patron of our fine city's environmentally friendly light rail system, but emotionally takes every possible opportunity to drive to work when it's even remotely economically viable. And surprisingly often, it is.
If both your mother and I are headed for the central business district, the price of parking the car is almost eerily reflective of the price of two all day tram tickets (the fact that your mother has to buy a tram ticket after I drop her off is ENTIRELY BESIDE THE POINT, don't trivialise this already flimsy economic argument with details).
Of course, the tram does has its advantages. The slow journey down Brunswick Street lets you browse the windows of a hundred venues whose doorways you won't darken because you're too old and tired to go out at night anymore, and to gaze in the shop windows of boutiques whose clothes you cannot afford.
The punt down St Georges Rd isn't so bad, at least the tram has a dedicated lane, but still takes what seems to be an interminably long time.
On another topic entirely.....
One of the key advantages to being a kid, punkin, is that the lack of responsibility allows one a great deal of freedom. That being in a situation in which one is required to concentrate on only a single thing - be that playing with one's blocks or reading one's book, is an astonishing and wonderful thing. Adults, by contrast, are unfortunately required to be jacks of all trades, and to (in the case of your father) constantly refocus their attentions on things that have cruised up the priority list to Primary Action Item status.
What this inevitably means is that one ends up spending less time on the things that one WANTS to do, and more time on the things that one HAS to do. Naturally, as with all courses of action, effective time management will assist in decreasing this problem, but it is nonetheless true that often, whilst one would ideally be, f'rinstance, watching a documentary about building drag racers, one has to be cleaning out the filter on the dishwasher.
Being a kid, punkin, removes you from that onerous duty (not the dishwasher thing, we'll get to that later). Being a kid, punkin, places you in a mindset that rests on a knowledge of backup systems in place. You know, as a child, that if you don't clean out the filter on the dishwasher, that it doesn't really matter, because your dad's going to eventually get sick of it and do it anyway.
Adults, punkin, have not this luxury. If the filter on the dishwasher doesn't get cleaned, the dishes stay dirty, and your mother yells at me for being a slackarse.
This, after that longwinded explanation, is why your dad has a lot of hats.
Hats can help to put you in a mindset - like a soldier's uniform, like an actor's costume. Putting on your "stinky working around the house" hat means that, if you're wearing it, you should be doing stinky work around the house (of course the great secret about the stinky working around the house hat is that it's at its best when being worn to drink beer and watch a documentary about drag racers AFTER you've done the stinky work, but I digress (are we surprised?)).
So I'm glad that you've found the joy of hot-hat-swapping. Grammy tells me that, when I was your age, I would refuse to wear a hat at all. I'm glad you don't have that problem.