Red Hat ladies
"I have missed four flights already today," Oliver Lang tells me with a heavy sigh as he adjusts the straps on his canvas backpack. He is on his way to Frankurt, Germany to play in a paintball competition. His flight has been paid for in full by a gentleman sponsoring him to compete. This is a regular occurence for Lang, who is a professional paintballer. Last month he paintballed in Venice. "Over the last couple of years paintball has become a popular spectator sport. You'd be surprised. There are webcasts," Lang explains.
Lang, who lives in Bankers Hill, has a casual menswear look going for him. Wearing a dark color palette, oversized trench, and Euro-influenced mustache, he looks like the kind of man who gets paid to carry a gun.
"I usually try to dress a little nicer when I fly," he said.
Lang has a pin attached to his backpack of a man's face. After inspecting it for a moment, I couldn't figure out who it was.
"It's a picture of me, crying after losing. It keeps me humble," Lang says with a laugh.
In front of Gate 26, close friends and Red Hat sisters Pam Ehrlich and Debbi Fontanesi wait for their San Francisco-bound flight. The twosome are headed to the annual Red Hat convention. The Red Hats are a group of fun-loving ladies over the age of 50 that have regular meetings and outings where they always wear purple with bright red hats. The group was founded 16 years ago by Sue Ellen Cooper after she bought a friend a red hat. Now their are thousands of Red Hat ladies around the world.
Says Pam,"I am wearing a purple hat because during your birthday month, Red Hat ladies all wear purple [hats]. Normally, I wear red."
Pam is so enamored with being a Red Hat lady that she even has a purple-and-red hat tattooed on her ankle.
"I am going to get one too," Debbie chimes in. "Mine will be a red gem because our chapter is called the Red Gems. A lot of red hats have group-themed tattoos."
Lastly, I found Yinka Rickford waiting to take off on a New York adventure. The London-born 26-year-old writer, was headed to an Afropunk festival. "I would like to move to New York within the the next five years or so. I live in the suburbs of Dallas. New York City is a lot like London."
Rickford wore oversized gold bangle earrings, a basic gray Calvin Klein dress, and a comfy mango sweater paired with turquoise converse and a tribal-print turban.
"I always wear big earrings. It's my staple item. My favorite place to buy jewelery is at Sika in LA."