In residency, my professor used to caution against cockiness. “If you get too cocky, the hand will pull you down to the ground.” I thought the hand was for residency only. Don’t think you know it all. But I was so wrong.
Back in the summer, when my partner, S, was away for work, I had plenty of time to shop. Enough in fact, to buy unnecessary items. One such compulsive purchase was a nice fedora style straw hat, which I bought, placed in the closet, and forgot about it.
Fall came. I was visiting a friend in Dallas and decided to bring my hat for a girls’ night out. Not wanting to carry it, I wore it on the plane and kept it on for the rest of the day.
My friend was still at work and I wanted to eat with her later. To help me forget I was famished, I went for a walk, by now too used to the hat to even remember I had it on.
One store’s sale sign beckoned me. The door dinged as I opened it and I heard mumbles from the direction of the two sales women. I assume they said hi because at that moment I was busy hushing my stomachs screeches of hunger and pain. About 30 seconds later, when I saw them still looking at me waiting for a response, my brain registered hearing something about a hat. Yes it took it 30 seconds to pick up the sound signals from the ear and process it into a thought.
“Oh thank you,” I said because I suddenly remembered wearing a hat. And then quickly added some noise to the scene in the form of a comment. The kind that shows you are engaged and you were right there with them the whole time even though it is totally untrue.
“Oh. It’s my first time wearing it since I got it. Just didn’t have the guts.” One of the girls said something that sounded like she loves shoo hats. I smiled and nodded vigorously, like I knew exactly what she meant. Truth be told, I had no idea what she was talking about.
“Of course,” I replied.
She went on: “I had the blue one? But it was hard to wear.”
Here was my opportunity to stop nodding and partake in the conversation. “Well, you gotta carry it and own it.”
“Yeah. And my hat is great but yours is badass.“
“And you wear it well.”
Naturally, by now my head started to swell. With that high, it was time I browsed the clothes rack like the fashionista that I was. I puffed out my chest, swung the left hip and just as I went to swing the right one, my foot slipped in the stupid wedge flip- flops and off went the badass feelings and then some. Back on the earth, chest suddenly caved in, I spent the next few minutes intently focused on balancing my torso on my legs until I could get myself back to the door.
“Have a good day.” I said. Ding.
Damn you, Hand!