Puffin Away

This is a love story.  Strange… Unexpected… Hideous and inexplicable in many ways.  But a love story nonetheless.

It started with my trip to Iceland in 2007.  Short notice (as are many of my international jaunts, it seems), i went for a long weekend with a friend.  What’s cool about Iceland?  Well, besides being momentarily bankrupt, they are a bit of a magical society – energy independent due to the stores of geothermal energy that can turn that island into so much volcanic dust in a heartbeat.  Certainly a case of making the best of a potentially really bad situation.

Oh, and even better?  Hot springs!  All that volcanic energy does not go to waste, that’s for sure!  The Blue Lagoon* is spectacular.  Speaking of spectacular… The women?  Stunningly gorgeous.  The men?  Umm… lucky to live on an island with the aforementioned ladies…

This, however, is about none of that.  This is a love story.  Indirectly about sheep.  Icelandic sheep.  Luscious and decadent of pelt.  And this renewable resource is the font of a famous Icelandic industry – wool.  Oh, yes… Icelandic wool is exquisite, and warm beyond belief.  And when i was not being thrown from a demonic Icelandic pony**, or trying to find the exact house where Bjork lives, i was smitten with a particularly ugly item, crafted of this sumptuous wool.

A hat, to be specific.  My initial thought was that it might be something that The Girl would like.  But within moments i realized she had more class and style than that… so i unapologetically bought if for myself.  Creamy ivory wool, accented by an ice blue border – with intricately woven Puffins along the base.  And ear flaps.  i mean, what the hell good is a winter hat without ear flaps?

There it was – homely yet practical.  All at the same time.  Just like me!  Screaming my name.  Loudly.  It was almost embarrassing… i had to buy it just to keep the noise down.

It’s been bloody cold this year, so  i’ve been wearing it.  Driven as much by necessity, there’s just something mesmerizing about this hat.  i am ruthlessly taunted by colleagues.  It is beyond “un-sexy”, it’s downright “anti-sexy” – and i believe it has shrivelled male reproductive organs from as far away as 30 feet. 

The first time i lost it, i was heartbroken – but since i knew exactly where i’d last seen it, a lunchtime trip to The Pub was all it took to recover my baby.

daisyfae: Did someone leave a really ugly hat here?

pub hostess: [walks to hostess stand, opens cabinet, extracts my hat from the bottom of a huge pile of hats] This one?

Last week it was another story.  The hat was missing as i left the office at the end of the day.  Knowing i’d had it when i arrived that morning, i mentally retraced my steps through the day – and came to the conclusion that i’d either dropped as i got out of my car, or someone had stolen it

Frantically scouring the parking lots, i came up empty handed.  It had snowed a bit, and it was possible that the hat had been scraped into a pile of muck-encrusted briny snow by the maintenance brigade.  For the rest of the week, i kept my eyes peeled – checking hallway bulletin boards where lost items sometimes appear, even asking at our visitors desk if anyone had turned in a really ugly hat. 

Paranoia strikes deep.  i began to wonder if perhaps my friends were playing a cruel trick on me.  Maybe – possibly in the interest of preserving organizational aesthetics – they’d swiped my hat.   i decided that the only proper thing to do would be to craft a “Missing” poster.  In my paranoiac frenzy, i planned to warn the thieves that i have even UGLIER headgear should this be a malicious act… i’d also bought a pig-tailed ear-band.  Orange, brown and blue stripes – suitable for wear…. um… suitable for wear in the dark, perhaps.   Could i “counter” such an act of terrorism with even greater hideosity?  The mind wanders when deeply distressed…

i worked my way through several stages of grief – and it was a grieving process, mind you.  i wore a different hat every day.  Recklessly wearing any hat i could get my hands on!  Sometimes (and this is shameful), wearing two hats at once.  i didn’t care where they’d been.  i was lashing out.  But by the end of the week i was approaching grim acceptance.  Puffin Hat was gone.  Long live Puffin Hat.  [sniff, sniff…]

Friday, on the way out for the evening, a friend arrived to pick me up… He was behaving strangely.***  Entering my condo, he stood outside the door of my bedroom, with a devilish look on his face.  Thinking he’d gone completely whack, i was assessing the distance to my phone should i need to call for backup.  He simply said “I want to be in the right position to make it easy for you to thank me properly…” and he proceeded to pull Puffin Hat from his coat.  Executing a standing leap of perhaps 10 feet, i was on him within seconds – rescuing Puffin Hat! 

We’d had lunch together that day, and on a lark, he’d stopped by the restaurant on the way over.  Asking after “lost and found” items, he located my wayward hat, and brought baby home to momma!

And all was truly right with the world… Much like Ralphie, from A Christmas Story, i slept with Puffin Hat that night… as the snow fell on a magical landscape, gentle music played, and there was a lovely fade to black…

Reunited and it feels so good...

Reunited and it feels so good...

* The mineral spa.  NOT the roach-feces encrusted poor excuse for a film with a marginally clad barely post-pubescent Brooke Shields.

** The fucking thing was posessed – a demon pony.  It had BLUE EYES.  No one else would ride it… but that’s a story for a different day…

*** Even for one of my friends…

30 thoughts on “Puffin Away

  1. i love it- i just got an earflap hat that is neutrally coloured but quite hideous.

    on a similar note- my furniture just arrived here in the UK from the states and they broke my favourite object- a glass fish! why was i so attached to something i had bought from a consignment shop for $50? i was devastated but it has since been granted a second life as a bookend.

  2. alex – he’s all grown up now, and SMOKIN’ hot… love a man who knows what to do with a rifle!

    nursemyra – you? a tasty arse? of course… how could it be otherwise?

    dolce – considering building a shrine, climate controlled of course, where it can reside during the warmer months. maybe on the head of a dead monkey or something…

    dave – condolences on the fish. why do we attach to the odd things? for me, it’s falling for the unloveable. perhaps it gives us hope?

    paisley – and i can make things with dog hair macrame! talented, too!

    gnu – he changed his mind once i put on the hat. funny when it works that way… he couldn’t get to the car fast enough!

    stephanie – when they don’t manage the indoor temp at the office, i will wear it at my desk. if i get too warm, i’ll pop up the earflaps and look like a WWII pilot…

    kono – iceleand was fabulous. one giant moss-covered moonscape. with glorious hot springs, geysirs, waterfalls and demonic ponies…

    squirrelqueen – i might ship them a screenplay… hadn’t thought of that.

    unbearable banishment – sad, but true. it’s me. all me. warm and goofy. i’ve got a scarf to match (no puffins). a little itchy, but so very toasty…

  3. If I see that head covering (I’m not going to pretty it up with the word Hat) posted on the internets again I might, as in A Christmas Story, shoot my own eye out. Question: If, in your wanton whirlwind devil-may-care albeit grief-induced hat promiscuity you managed to catch youself some nasty headlice or dandruff, are you gonna step up and let all those other hats know as well as any future hats that will no doubt come into your life (don’t be naive – come summer I’ll bet Mr. Puffin is nowhere to be found)? Of course no one thinks about these things in the moment, but that’s how reputations are born, sister, and there’s no going back now. You might as well knit a soft woolen letter “A” into that thing.

  4. pickles – i’ve given up on my reputation. damn them all – i don’t care what they think! we’re going to be together – forever 4-ever! say what they will, they cannot comprehend a love like this… and if i picked up something pesky in my grief? Puffin Hat will understand… Puffin Hat is the only hat for me. i’ll go bare-headed for the rest of my life if he goes away again…

  5. Pingback: Newscoma » Blog Archive » Mabel Looks Like A Puffin

  6. Interesting story. I’ve heard you need the heavy wool in Ohio (which I think is where you are at).

    Did you stay in Reykjavik, or did you travel up north? I’ve heard Akureyri is pretty stunning – I had a penpal who lived there in the 80s and loved the postcards she’d send me.


  7. Aw, it makes me nostalgic. I am absolutely positive I had such a puffin when I was a preteen living in Seattle. I think I called it um, a hat. And it always made my hair stand on end when I took it off, which then made me get shocked whenever I touched anything. Hmmm, that’s probably more the reason that Iceland is energy independent. It’s the puffins.


  8. kyknoord – it was accidental… i would NEVER toy with such a practical objet d’art. and perhaps not coincidental that hat failure occurs generally when i’m drinking a pint or two or three or four

    uncle keith – oh, right. like i think deep in my soul, i’m not worthy for such a thing of beauty. somehow i don’t deserve such a glorious bit of headgear…. hmmm…

    silverstar – “heat whore”? Will go anywhere and do anything for warmth? suspect if you moved somewhere further south you could get more sleep! 🙂

    sonny – Started in Reykjavik, and then did the southern route. Geysir, Vik, Gullfoss, Þingvellir… rode the Icelandic ponies over the volcanic highlands. When i go back, i hope to hit the northern shore. And perhaps time it to catch the Aurora Borealis!

    KJ – This one doesn’t do much for my hair, either! Always kinda wondered if it’d be easy to harness static electricity – have “factories” where women with lots of hair rub balloons against them all day long… probably not economically benificial, but…

  9. amber – i’m the luckiest chick on earth… it may all come crashing down around me someday, but i’m going with it while i can!

    Bb – as long as it’s consensual….

  10. I dunno. I like the hat. And it’s practical too fer gawd’s sake.

    Mind you, I like the jewel warmers….um, gun cozies that Silverstar crochets, also.

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