Saturday, September 3, 2011

Done Gone and Got My Hair Did on Count of a Middle Aged Crisis

Back in the Day
As soon as I opened the door, I knew I had gone temporarily insane. It all started innocently enough. I was minding my own business at a stop light. A flash of movement caught my eye. Being a responsible driver, I looked up to check it out and locked horns with an electronic billboard. That billboard did what it was designed to do. It got in my head and messed with my mind. I ignored it. Really, I did. It wasn't hard to do. I'm not that young and, as sons #1 & 2 will tell you, I'm not that hip. Or, I wasn't until today.

I woke up this morning and made my second mistake. I looked in a mirror. Sheer horror gripped me. I realized my hair had gone from looking like something off a shampoo commercial to looking like a football helmet. Actually, it looked like some sort of weird cross pollination between a football helmet and a wire brush that my husband uses to get rust off of junk. It was riveting. In a sci fi kind of way.

Yes, I was actually once a beauty queen!
Lucky for me, I had gotten some new shampoo at 50% off yesterday. It was guaranteed to take the wire brush out of my hair...or at least enough of it that it would only look like a football helmet again. I chose to ignore the fact that I hadn't had my hair cut since before Easter and went about my day. Until I was suddenly seized by some middle aged madness. I figured I had 3 options: become a cougar and find a younger man, buy a motorcycle, or do something about my hair.

I married younger the first go round and am only now about to get him broken in right. I'm too tired at this age to break in a newer, younger model. Know what I mean? I nixed option #1 without too much angst. The motorcycle thing..yea..well..ah...we've established that I'm a fraidy cat, right? So, unless they make 'em with training wheels and a protective bubble to keep all the fools on the road from sending me for a ride down a 6-lane on my wallet, I learned all I need to know about trykes from my brother-in-law's adventure. No-thank-you! You see where that leaves us, huh? It leaves us right where that electronic billboard wanted middle aged women like me...temporarily insane. Save yourself. It is too late for me.

This afternoon, I headed out to get a much needed pair of athletic shoes for son #1. We weren't even out of the driveway when I looked over and announced that I was going to get a haircut if the place on the billboard took walk-ins. He looked at me in that stunned way that implied, “Who are you, and where have the aliens taken my mother?”
Courtesy Christina Jones Hooker

I edged up to the establishment trying to get the lay of the land from the parking lot. I had a moment's reprieve when I ticked off the services offered as detailed by a neatly lettered list on the front door. I knew I was full tilt crazy when I dialed the # on the front door. “Hey...ya'll don't do haircuts, do ya? Just spa treatments and stuff, huh?” As desperate as I was...I was not gonna go hog wild and sign me up for a Brazilian wax no matter how mesmerizing those flashing electronic lights had been.

Why yes! We have hairstylists on staff. We sure do.”

G-U-L-P. “Uh, you do walk-ins? I bet not, huh?” I was practically begging this voice to throw herself between me and my temporary insanity.

Who you calling a fraidy cat?
Well, we don't do walk-ins, but if you want to make an appointment, I could get you in at 4:15p today. Would that work?”

GG-UU-LL-PP!! I laughed that nervous, high pitched laugh of the newly insane, middle aged woman who woke up with a football helmet made of wire brushes on her head. “Well, hair is kinda weird, challenging, you might say. (Maybe I could scare 'em off with that ploy.) Do you have anyone who has cut hair for 3 years or more?”

I could just feel the girl on the other end thinking, “Roll. My. Eyes...and call out the men in white coats. We got another picky one coming in at the last minute on a Saturday afternoon wanting us to cure her of her middle aged crisis in 45 minutes or less. I bet she saw the billboard! Couldn't she just take a sedative and sleep it off?”

Instead, she said in her sweetest, most long suffering chirp, “Well, Cari hasn't been cutting hair quite that long, but she's really amazing. I think she's up to the task.” 

Sigh. I'd given her every chance to send me packing, but she refused. I was stuck. I was too rattled to squeak out, “Sorry, wrong number,” or “April Fools!” and hang up on her.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Thirty minutes later, I opened the door leading into what was supposed to be the gateway to nirvana. I was ushered into a dimly lit room in which music oozed out of the walls like honey while burbling water lulled me into a trance-like state where money would be no object. If I stayed in that room long enough, I'm sure a Brazillian wax would seem like something I'd gone there for in the 1st place.

Before I sank totally into the 'lamb-led-to-slaughter' state, a girl young enough to be my daughter drifted into my line of vision. We eyed each other like sumo wrestlers about to meet in the circle. She was wondering why they stuck her with this old grey haired lady and what she was going to do with that wire brush cum football helmet on my head. I was wondering where the fire exit was and how much I'd have to pay when the fire trucks got there if I took the easy way out.

As she hooked me with her tractor beam and led me out of the trance inducing room back into the light, I spied a strawberry tatt nestled just below her earlobe and noted a sleeve tatt all the way down one arm. If that didn't make my diagnosis complete, what more would it take?

We did the dance that always takes place between a new hairstylist and her client. She fluffed my wire bristles and brushed her fingers thru my hair this way and that. She asked what I absolutely didn't want. That was easy. I told her I didn't want to walk out of there looking like a 53- year-old woman in the throes of middle aged crisis trying to look like I was 30 again. Too late for that as soon as I crossed the threshold of the spa, I guess.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
By the time she was done, an amazing thing had happened. I really didn't care what my hair looked like when she was done. The adventure had stopped being about the cut or my flirtation with middle aged insanity. Instead, it was about one of those freeze framed moments in life. I will long remember the day this old fraidy cat met a free spirit young enough to be her daughter. I am richer for the experience. I wonder, will she feel the same? 


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