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A little green hat & Chinese take-out

03/14/2015
My little green Maine hat with a snow ball tassel and a pine tree brim.

My little green Maine hat with a snow ball tassel and a pine tree brim.

The woman working at the Chinese restaurant looked up at the little green stocking hat on my head with a curious expression.

She was friendly, with big pink cheeks, an easy smile and a voice as smooth as a TV news anchor. I figured her for the restaurant manager: Too young to be the owner; too old to be a waitress.

“So your hat, it says “Maine” on it right?”

Jen and I were conducting some unusual business at the Panda Garden in downtown Bangor. Instead of phoning in a take-out order, we decided to enjoy a sunny winter afternoon and walk to the restaurant where we placed an order in person. We then strolled around the city and returned 20 minutes later for pick up.

This, of course, is an extreme violation of take-out dining protocol. Orders are to be phoned in and hurriedly picked up – with the proprietor only engaging in a quick, face-to-face credit card transaction.

Perhaps the Chinese restaurant manager took note of my little green hat upon our  initial order, was intrigued and decided to inquire about it upon our return. Or perhaps she thought the hat so odd she couldn’t help but comment.

Regardless, I was flattered.

“Yes, it says ‘Maine’ and then there’s little green pine trees across the front,” I said. “Do you see them?”

“Yeah, but…”

There was something more the woman wanted to know or say about the hat. Something that caught her eye, something she liked or didn’t like, something about it that piqued her interest.

Jen jumped in and said my hat was too small. It pinched my head. It didn’t look right. “It would fit me better,” she said. “I think he should give it to me.”

This changed the course of the conversation.

“I just got it,” I countered. “It’ll stretch out and look fine.”

The woman quickly realized my little green hat was a source of domestic controversy.

“Well I didn’t want to start World War III here,” she said.

“No, no, no. You were going to say something about the hat,” I begged.

But at this point, there was only one thing a good Chinese restaurant manager could say: “I think your hat looks great.”

“That’ll be $21.50.”

We paid in cash, loaded the food into an insulated bag and headed out the door.

I pulled my little green hat further down over my ears to ward off the cold.

 

 

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