University pub crawl, sometime in late ’80s. I wasn’t drinking a huge amount but I’d had a couple of beers & we’d reached the best pub on the crawl – the Shakespeare.
We’re on a table next to the window and three traffic wardens amble past. I muse to the group, “I’ve always wanted one of their hats.”
Its important to remember that at the time traffic wardens wore fairly formal uniforms. Oh, and I had a bit of a thing about women and hats.
“I dare ya,” says one of the group – who is now, by the way, a highly respected university professor of philosophy at an Ivy League American college.
“Twenty bucks?” I ask, knowing that with his family background he can well afford it.
“You’re on,” he says.
The three wardens are by now waiting at the traffic lights on the corner by the pub, so I dip out and sneak silently – or so I thought – up behind them.
I figured I’d go for the middle one because I didn’t want to make it too easy.
As I got to striking distance she whirls around, grabs her hat in one hand and the other one shoves a finger under my nose.
“You want it? Its thirty five bucks,” she says.
With as much dignity as I could muster I pulled out my wallet and asked if she’d take a cheque.
“You’ve got to be joking,” she says.
Quick calculation tells me if I fork over the $35 and win the bet I’m still $15 down.
I’m stingy. Besides, by then the ‘cross now’ signal had gone and they headed across Wyndham St. Laughing, the heartless cows.
Still. Nice uniforms they had in those days.