Guest of Honour – Hair to Dye For

Posted on November 22, 2018 under Storytelling with 2 comments

(This story was contributed (anonymously) by one of my loyal readers- my first Guest of Honour submission.)

There are times when you just have to leave vanity at the door.

In my early twenties, I was shocked to discover wee strands of hair that did not match my normal colour. Yes, shocked and not one bit pleased. I tried to hide these annoying strands by wearing braids, ponytails, and fancy updos. And plucking. In my late twenties, I broke down and purchased hair dye. The process was no easy task for someone who had hair almost to her waist. This ritual went on for a couple of years until finally I made the decision to shorten my hair and ask a professional to colour it.

I want to say that I have one of the most trusted and excellent hairdressers. She is funny, offers me treats and is the perfect listener, three traits that would endear her to even the most discerning customer. She offers suggestions for styling and can cut and style with accuracy and confidence. We are good friends and share common interests.

Well, there are times when things don’t go exactly as planned.

One day, after she put the colour in my hair, I sat in a nearby chair to wait for the magic to work. Things were progressing normally. We chatted, told a few stories and shared a few recipes. About fifteen minutes before the timer sounded, the lights flickered a few times then finally went out completely. I was fine until I noticed the shocked look on my stylist’s face. She announced that she could not rinse my hair as the outage had affected the water pump.

Well, weren’t we in a fine pickle? Initially I thought she was kidding about the inability to rinse my hair. When her face shifted from humour to panic, I knew she was concerned. We both looked at each other with an expression that said, “Well, what in the hell do we do now?”

She said that I did not have much time and that I must hurry home immediately and rinse it out myself. She handed me a clear plastic shower cap to cover the wet mop on top of my head. I put it on and if I must admit, I was a sight for sore eyes. Another wave of panic washed over me as I considered the drive home some fifteen minutes away. The critical path would take me down Main Street. With vanity rapidly coming to the surface, I requested a baseball cap as a clever disguise. In my attempt to affix the lid to my head, I punctured the shower cap. The wet mass underneath erupted. The Three Stooges couldn’t have pulled this off better than I did.

The clock was ticking.

I raced towards my car and as I reached the door, a gust of wind came out of nowhere and blew the cap off my head. The cap could have gone anywhere but when fate intervenes, all bets are off. I looked left and I looked right. I looked high and low and sure enough, there it was sitting harmlessly under the car. I got down on my knees to retrieve the offending object. As I started to get up, a second blast of wind ripped it out of my hands. Any passerby may well have heard expletives. The cap rolled gracefully to the other side of the car. I grabbed it, more forcefully this time and got in my vehicle.

I was about to adjust the front mirror above the dash but chose otherwise. I was too afraid to see how I looked. I hummed a few bars of the popular Carly Simon hit, “You’re so Vain”.

I commenced the journey home. Inching along Main Street, I encountered a Power Corporation truck coming in the opposite direction. I lowered my window and flagged him down, asking him when the power might be restored. If the fix was imminent, I would just turn around and go back to the hairdressing shop. As I looked up into the cab of the truck, I saw a familiar face. In a million years I did not expect the driver to know me. It was my cousin. My clever disguise had failed as he immediately recognized me.

He rolled down his window. The look on his face was priceless. He broke into hysterics. At one point, his body tilted noticeably to the right. He lay across the seat, laughter emanating from the depths of his belly. He came up, gasping for air. Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. His laughter was infectious.

When we had both composed ourselves, he informed me that the power would not be restored for at least a few hours. Apparently a tree had fallen about a mile away, knocking down power lines and preventing traffic from moving forward as it landed in the middle of the road. When I found out that this tree had fallen on the road leading to my house, I could feel my heart palpitate.

I had no choice but to continue along my way. Not surprisingly, I was stopped by a flagman. I was the first vehicle in the lineup. I put the car in park and flipped on the radio. My head alternately bobbed up and down. I didn’t want to face the flagman but I was forced to look his way to eventually get the all clear signal. A flagman’s job is usually filled with boredom but on this day, the young fella had a good laugh at my expense.

After twenty minutes he motioned me to proceed. I could only imagine the discussion around his dinner table that evening!

I finally made it home. I ran up the steps and made a beeline for the kitchen sink and who was standing there but my husband. No words were exchanged. I gave him a threatening look that a smile, a chuckle or a single word would be met with retribution.

“Get me a towel. I’ll explain later.”

I stood over the sink and started applying water, praying that I hadn’t cooked my hair.

I remembered the popular television commercial airing in those days.

“I’m gonna wash that gray right outta my hair.”

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