It was that particularly rainy Sunday in January, my birthday, 22. Back in San Francisco for a fair share of soul reassuring beauty, I was cheating the vertical rivers with my enthusiasm for walking and discovering. I didn't bring an umbrella. The evening was taking hold of Washington Square when the stars aligned and Custom Hat Shop and I became acquainted. First, the sign above the entrance. Then, the entrance. Then, myself inside, enthralled. Mahogany shelves displaying artistry in form of diverse and carefully crafted headpieces (since 1895, by Goorin Bros.) Antique cabinets lined with vintage sewing machines, fancy old dial phones and impressive tailoring paraphernalia. When enthralled, it's difficult to build a balance between being overly shy and pouring mouthfuls of admiration. The girl who gingerly approached me was sympathetic to my unsuccessful efforts to become a cool, unimpressionable citizen of the world. We started good, interesting talking around good, interesting hats. Models, materials, significance, customization. She has an amount of time allocated to have conversation with each and every client. She enjoys coming to work. There is a genuine feeling in the atmosphere. If you know what you want, good, if you don't, you learn it here and now. It's hard to leave. Pensively swallowing a fruit tart from Cafe Roma, I wholeheartedly acknowledge the profoundness of my addiction to the exquisite surprises perpetually held in store by the streets of San Francisco.