Saturday, December 02, 2006

Another late illo, plus I had a sombrero.


It's ... some kind of werewolf. You weren't a party to the conversation that led to this, so ... never mind.

I had a sombrero, briefly. The woman who lived downstairs in my friend's duplex was throwing it away so I asked for it. The thing was HUGE. Like three feet across. No fancy designs on it, no patterns or anything, just plain straw. But it was made of a pretty sturdy type of straw which held its shape but had just enough give in it for the brim to kind of flop and bounce when you walked. It forced you to walk with a kind of cartoony slouch, which made the hat bounce even better. And the middle part of the hat was two feet high, at least. It was an amazing piece of headwear. I used to wear it when we'd all go drinking at the beach at Garry Point. People loved the thing. Nothing cracks up drunken teenagers like an equally drunk kid in an enormous Speedy Gonzales hat.

There was this guy who lived in my old friend Paul's neighbourhood, who'd walk around talking to himself and eating lawn mushrooms. Pretty lucky not to have been poisoned. Well, maybe he had been poisoned and it had made him crazy. But you'd have to be messed up already to eat random mushrooms off the ground. Kind of a chicken-and-egg conundrum, there. We called him the Mushroom Man. He lived with his mother, who was also crazy. She'd squat on the sidewalk outside their house staring out at traffic. And I mean like *squat*. Not a tasteful, Spider-Man kind of squat, where you're sitting on the balls of your feet with your bum resting on your heels and your knees pointing out in a spring-ready pose; I mean a knees-toward-the-sky, ass-toward-the-pavement, Turkish Toilet Position, SQUAT squat.
Sometimes, the Mushroom Man would be out there too, leaning against a telephone pole. Sometimes you'd see him come out and bring his mom a bag of chips from the store. I don't know if he ever shared his lawn mushrooms with her, though.

Once, I left my huge sombrero at Paul's place. Big mistake. His mom was cleaning up and found the thing in her living room. She didn't even bother to ask Paul about it; just put it out with the trash. Paul broke the news to me at school. What a shame.
It was about a week later, as I was walking up Paul's street, that I saw the Mushroom Man and his mother on the sidewalk, staring out at traffic in their usual way. He was leaning on a telephone pole, and she was squatting with her arms around her knees. And on her head was my sombrero.

I never asked for it back.