Sunday, August 09, 2009


As soon as I got up yesterday morning, I noticed the difference. Instead of having cool, dry air from Canada, the jet stream had shifted and we were getting that drippy, gooey Gulf of Mexico air. A humid mist hung across my back yard. The air was thick and heavy, and the leaves hung limply from the trees.

I knew right then it was going to be a bad hair day.

Even on a low humidity day, my hair has a mind of its own. My hair is a direct gift from some lumpy-haired Norwegian foremother—thick, sturdy hair genetically designed to be tied back into a practical bun while hoeing a potato field in Norway. It was never intended to be worn in some modern sleek, silky cascade or a tousle-haired flow. My hair was intended to provide warmth in a cold, Arctic Circle climate, kind of like a worsted wool knitted cap, perched on top of my head. It was never designed for beauty; it is thick, lumpy, utilitarian hair.

I’ve never been good with hair appliances. It seems like I don’t have enough hands to manage all the maneuvering that need to be done simultaneously. “Straighten your hair,” I am advised. “Round brush your hair,” someone else says. Fluff it or smoosh it or crisp it or fry it . . . it doesn’t make any difference. I never have enough hands and it always ends up looking the same. And throw in a little humidity—oofda feeda (the only Norwegian swear words I know). It’s Larry from the Three Stooges, it’s Albert Einstein, it’s Danny DeVito—all three of their hairdos rolled into one.

My sympathies, Albert. I know how you feel.

I went for a three-mile walk in that humid afternoon, and when I came home, my hair had turned feral—like some wild animal with its paw in an electrical outlet, perched on my head. Like Davy Crockett’s coonskin cap on methamphetamines. I went the rest of the day with three hair bands holding it in place, like little lassos roping a wild mustang. I was afraid if I took them out, my hair would frizz out and knock pictures off the wall.

I’m not normally a vain person, but I may have to cancel all social engagements until the weather changes and we get some more of that nice, dry Canadian air. You know, the fair hair air.

1 comment:

bd said...

Only one of the reasons I like winter best.