It will grow

Image

I have no one to blame but myself.

Susan Miller’s Astrology forecast for Sag said: The new eclipse on June 5th will help you see yourself in a completely new light, so much so that you may be moved to change the way you wear your hair, dress or even change your name.

I wish I could point a finger at Astrology or some errant brain wave that zapped my grey matter while I slept, but I can not. Taking responsibility for ones actions is not all its cracked up to be. I miss the less conscious days when I pointed a finger and said, You, You, You!

This is what happened. I entered the realm of the hairdresser, which is one of the worst things I can subject myself to.  Every decade or so I tend to forget what is best for me, believing the same experience will yield a different result. This tendency to deny my best interests shows up in other parts of  life as well, like believing I can trust the invitation on the face of the makeup artist in Macy’s and not come away looking like Tammy Faye Bakker on a bad night. Or like listening to my mother who loved convincing me that the miracles of pharmacology could override a lifelong tendency toward seasickness.

“No dear, you will not become deathly ill crossing the English Channel on a cruise ship and spend hours with your head in the toilet praying for a life flight helicopter, while I dance in my prom dress with one of the ship’s escorts. Not this time.”

But I digress. I told myself it was safe to go to the hairdresser because ALL I wanted was for her to show me how to wear long hair. I wanted a few new tricks with barrettes and bobby pins.

You’re completely safe, I told myself. This won’t be like the time you were touring with Tears of Joy Theater and stopped in Montana to get a perm, then had to finish the tour wearing a headscarf.

When that woman asked how tight I wanted the curl, I’d said, “Make it last.”  Wrong answer!  A touch of Henna and I came away looking like a stand in for Ronald McDonald.  No, this appointment will be fine because I’m older, wiser and in control.

I entered the salon with confidence. The hairdresser was young, (okay, almost everybody is younger than I am these days) capable and cute. We talked. I explained. “No, I did not want her to wash and trim my hair, just show me some options like a friend might do.”

That was going fairly well until she began talking about my face as a picture and my hair as the frame.

Apparently, my picture was not looking so great in the frame because she longed to layer, shape and trim.  She wrinkled her nose, holding the length of my hair at a distance, like one might evaluate a trout past its due date at the fish market. That was the moment she hooked me.

Of course, I needed more than styling options. What was I thinking? I needed much much more. I felt suddenly at risk. Yes, I definitely needed a new frame for my picture and the banishing of my seaweed ends. She was here to save me from myself by producing a fully modern, acceptable version of the woman I had been only moments before.

And so I did it.

She shampooed, cut, layered, thinned, blew my hair dry over a circular brush, showed me how to use a curling iron, then straightened and mouseed each lock until I was the spitting image of …………her.  A thirty year old woman with a hairstyle I would never want.

I thought of my sister who’d come home with an awful cut not long ago and the comment her daughter had made. “Mommy, I think the lady who cuts your hair thinks about other things while she’s at work.”

This woman was not thinking about other things, it was I who vacated myself.

So I thanked her, wrote out the check, got on my bike and pedaled home, immediately showering in the hope of finding some semblance of myself below.

Toweling my hair in the mirror, I said what I always say when devastated by a bad hair decision.

It will grow.

Aqua Abstravanganza

 

It was 8.30 in the morning under a cloudless California sky, when I waded into the shallow end at the Ojai Valley Athletic Club swimming pool, determined to try every exercise class offered, at least once. This one was called Aqua Abstravaganza, which I hoped would supplement lap swimming.

Warm water pooled around my waist as I greeted those who’d already arrived, noticing their hats, eye glasses and tee-shirts worn to ward off the coming of another sultry day. A woman with flowing grey hair smiled in my direction, introducing herself. The others followed, offering kindness and extended hands. Being greeted with such gracious acceptance is part of what I love about coming to this club. It’s an extension of the grace, beauty and specialness that is Ojai. Unfortunately, I forgot their names minutes after being introduced, my aging memory as short as my eyelash.

A young woman from a dark-skinned, dark-haired country told me this was her second class.

“I’ve come back because I love the teacher’s humor,” she confides, her cinnamon eyes catching rays of light from the water. She radiates health and youth, her long hair carefully braided and tucked out of the way. She’s attentive and eager for the class to begin.

The others are older, much older, being called by the grace and support water allows the elderly. The instructor, Debora, appeared in snug black pants and grey top, brown hair cascading around her shoulders. She too extends a hand. “Oh, you’re new. Welcome!”

This group has obviously been together a long time, as a kind of social club.

“Okay class,” Debora begins, “we’re starting today by running in place, so bring those knees up.”

A birdlike woman peering beneath the twilled rim of a khaki hat pays no attention, preferring to visit with her friend instead.

“Did you watch that reality show last night? Well I did and that man never should have won. They count on people not calling in but I’ll tell you what. I did call in because I think the judges are crooked. It’s just not fair. Anyone can see he was not the most talented. It was the singer, she was the best and then the girl with the dancing dog.”

Obviously an urgent conversation, much more important than the matter of moving about in water.

A series of jumping jacks propelled me near another huddled couple.

“So how was your trip to Thailand? We really missed you here. Did you know that Peggy broke her foot? Yes, she did, but is recovering nicely. Said she’d try and make it today. They have her in a walking boot. One just never knows, does one?”

At 9 o’clock, (yes, I was counting the minutes) the instructor suggested we venture into the deep end. Frankly, I was completely surprised anyone noticed the request. But move they did, like a great water-bound pod of visiting couples. At this point the exotic beauty with the braided hair leapt from the pool, grabbed her towel, a splashed copy of the New York Times and darted toward the changing room, clearly late for something.

The men were in the deep end doing just as much talking as the women.

“Are you having trouble with this kick, Bob?” The instructor asked. “Bob?

Bob are you with us?”

Bob looked up as if coming out of trance. “What kick?”