I went back to The Village Scandal for the third time in as many weeks today. This time, however, I followed through on my frequent threats and actually bought a hat. It's a white straw fedora that I'd been admiring last week. I was between this and the same model in black, but decided that black straw just didn't make sense (straw hats are for summer, and if I'm to even pretend that it's a practical hat it ought not to be colored heat-absorbing black). So now I have a straw hat that I may or may not wear, but at least it's comfortable and cooling.


As usual, the first photo I took was the best. All the futzing I did with the angle and such didn't improve on the one I just clicked at arm's length.


Here's pokin' at you, kid.


Pulled down for sleeping. I tried this on the subway ride home and it's surprisingly uncomfortable. I got the idea from Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indy put his fedora over his face to get sleep in the plane. It turns out that you end up resting it on your brow, which means your face gets pulled in weird ways, and meanwhile the brim in the back makes it hard to lean back. But this was just on the subway; it could be that it'd work better in a more relaxing seat.


Trying to read nonchalantly. My big concerns is whether I can pull the hat off without being self-conscious about it. I'd rather not look like a hipster doofus. If you saw this guy in a coffeeshop, would you think to yourself "Goofball?"


And the real reason I bought the straw hat, and why it had to be white. You can't play a banjo without a straw hat, and black would look too modern and sophisticated.


Ahhh, the last picture makes everything clear. It is an astoundingly nice hat, though I think that you could also have made room in the world for a black-hat-wearing rocking-the-fuck-out banjo player. Just spend thirty seconds considering this concept and I'll be happy.

If you were wearing the hat with the armband which apparently matches your shirt and doesn't, in this picture, look like a just-got-blood-drawn armband but rather an ironic hipster armband, I would definitely look askance at you. Minus the armband, totally fine.

It actually is a just-got-blood-drawn armband. I gave platelets this morning, which involves them taking the blood out, centrifuging it to separate the platelets from the rest of the blood, then returning what's left to the arm. The upshot is that 1. it takes longer, and 2. you don't feel as enervated as you do when they take full blood.

I tried going out tonight, sans hat, with a long-sleeved black shirt. No luck, per se, but I put off leaving so long that by the time I got to Starbucks (the only coffeeshop still open at that point) it was 20 minutes until closing.

I'd say that what you need is something like Wall Berlin, but since even Berkeley no longer has Wall Berlin, I don't know that there would be much point. Nor am I sure how much you would have frequented Wall Berlin in any case, since they closed relatively early in my tenure at Berkeley and thus relatively early in yours as well.

Assuming that you're not familiar with it, Wall Berlin was a small-but-hip independent coffee shop on Durant which was open until something outrageous like 2 am. There was generally good music, it was cozy instead of aseptically fluorescent, and your hanging-around was encouraged as long as you consumed a more or less bare minimum of merchandise at some point during your stay. There were always people there playing chess, reading books, on coffee dates, et cetera.

I realize that I'm rhapsodizing instead of helping, and that it's probably difficult to enter into a search engine something like "coffeeshops in new york that are like wall berlin in berkeley". But my nostalgia (and guilt - the shop went out of business only a few months after I accepted a barista position and then dropped out of it) requires me to wax affectionate every now and then, and you've given me an excuse.

I remember Wall Berlin. They were open for a couple of months after I moved in. Remember, my first dorm room was in Unit 3, so I was hanging out in the Durant area all the time. I wasn't so much into coffee or coffee-dating then, though, so most of my Berkeley coffee memories come from Cafe Strada.

I went back to Starbucks again today, where I sat and read Ghost World with my hat on. I learned a few valuable lessons. 1. Iced coffee tastes terrible. 2. While being into the book that I'm reading helps me to feel better about going out to meet people at a coffee shop, it does not help at all if I am so into said book that I do not talk to anyone. Here "anyone" includes the girl who sat at my table with me and to whom I said nothing except, "Sure, go ahead," when she asked if it was alright if she sat at my table with me.

And in banjo-related news, I am now teaching myself to play "In the Jailhouse Now." It is both tuneful and relatively not hard to learn. I have now learned to plunk my way through the chorus, and will next learn the verse portion.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on July 29, 2006 8:03 PM.

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