I Work In A Hatshop

I’m participating in National Novel Writer’s Month so all of my blogging time is more likely to be dedicated to producing a terrible work of fiction: 50,000 words in one month. Additionally, I have been working every day of the week, as my two days off I go to my internship. So here is a quick summary of my life, currently.

I am working in the Berkeley Hat Shop. The business has been owned by the same couple for 27 years. I can’t explain to you how many hats these people have. People who walk into the store are amazed at the variety and abundance of hats that are shoved, stacked and hanging from celing to floor. But the truth is that there are easily four times as many hats in the back as there are on the showroom floor. The back room (really, two rooms, but it’s called “the back”) has boxes of hats that are literally stacked to the ceiling. Sometimes there are a full stack of hats behind them. There are two lofts that are reached by ladder, both of which are filled with boxes and bags of hats. The ladder and the flashlight are my tools. The staff jokes that the daily battle is against gravity.
The store is located on Telegraph, which is the bohemian neighborhood of the most bohemian city in the country. Punks, hipsters, hippies all get there hats here, as do Krishnas, churchladies, DJs, and UC Berkeley students. The other day I was helping some customers when they talked about the concert they had that night. It was Sufjan Stevens and his band. The people who come into our shop are interesting to look at and talk to. We also have bums and drunks that occasionally cause a scene. musicians, punk spangers, tarot readers, and street vendors all vy for my money on my lunch break.

The female-half of the partenership that runs the shop is very active in local politics. And why shouldn’t she be? Her shop has more clout then the fly-by-night city politicians. People come into the shop to argue politics. She starts petitions and lobbies votes out of customers. She knows all of the people with their hand in the honey-pot and all of their gossip, too.

Alas, I’m still poor. But at least life is interesting.