Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Culture, The Post Office, and My Hat

Before I tell you about my trip to the post office, I should tell you about my hat.

It's a hat I bought for twelve bucks at a store in Long Beach. This is the hat.

Now, let me tell you about my trip to the post office.

Today I had to send a letter by certified mail. This meant taking a trip to the post office on Central Avenue and 43rd Place. I took the letter and six dollars from petty cash, put on my hat, and went to the post office.

Every time I go to this post office, I come back with a story. Here is today's.

I stood in line for a while. At this post office, standing in line appears to be optional. Some people do it and some people don't. No one is very concerned about it.

When I got up to a window and presented my letter, the clerk regarded me with curiosity and finally said, "You're a muslim?"

"Um. No, ma'am. I am not a muslim. Are you a muslim?"

"No! I'm not a muslim," she said, but then she came right back at me with, "You're wearing the hat!"

What else could I say to that? I had been caught red-handed. There was no sneaking any Islamic-looking people past this woman. I admitted as much as I knew: "Yes, ma'am," I confessed. "I am wearing a hat."

Fortunately, the woman working the window to my left saved us both with a wider perspective on the whole situation. "Oh!" she exclaimed with eureka shining from her eyes. "After all, it is black history month!"

This seemed to satisfy everybody and bring the conversation to a happy close.

Except for this nagging feeling that I had completely missed something...


Lorianne said...

You should have responded to the first woman by saying, "I'm a man of many hats."

MT said...

I finally understand how just being dressed a certain way (or not at all) could be cause for arresting somebody on the grounds of creating a disturbance. People are easily disturbed. Kind of like deer, I guess, but toward couture, being at a level above the animals.