The car a/c isn’t working again. I am not saying this as a complaint, though I am certainly not above complaining about it, as I often do that. However, today I mention this because the non-working a/c was a catalyst to other thoughts as I sat at every red light on my 20 minute drive home sweltering and trying not to sweat profusely and trying to tame my freewheeling hair as it blew every-which-way in the suffocating breeze, poking me in the eye, going up my nose, sticking to my neck and getting in my mouth. You see, due to the a/c situation I have to drive with the windows down. It’s a wild ride when I do that, especially if I have both front windows open and have to cross a busy intersection. At that point, the thick and humid, 90-some degree wind cuts across and past me to get out the other side and completely whips my hair all across my face and around my head in crazy knots, like a cartoon character, making it difficult to maneuver the busy traffic and avoid certain death. I’m steering and brushing hair out of my face and trying to get it behind my ears while I also try to find a free spot in which to merge into traffic, and hair behind the ears is not a particularly attractive look for me either which distracts me yet a bit more. It ranks right up there with having it up in a pony tail. I’m not about pony tails. And for those concerned not only for good hair but also for safety, I’ll tell you it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous for beauty and for safety to drive with the windows down. And really, what’s left after that?
And here’s a news flash... I don’t wear hairspray anymore. It may take a while for this to sink in; the sheer gravity of it is enormous. I have reached the end of my hair care days, I’m pretty sure of it. In a bold and calculated move, I took the hairspray bottle off of the bathroom counter the other day and put it away, out of sight, in the cabinet, in some sort of gesture of closure. No more coiffure couture if there was such a thing. Just like that, one day I was done with it. I’m not sure when it happened, but the shift began some time ago, months ago, yeah, right after the hurricanes last year. Hurricane hair dispels many a hang-up, though I have to say, it’s not all that glamourous to dispel hang-ups. My children and my friends probably wish I’d pull the hairspray bottle back out. (I can tell you this much, Casey told me to do the family a favor and buy some new clothes, but that’s for another blog post) But anyway, one day in a wild hare of a moment, I was liberated from my Jhermack Super Hold Unscented Spritz, maybe never to return. So, now with my standards lowered dramatically, I’m driving and sweating and my hair is everywhere it shouldn’t be and it’s certainly not paying homage to the time I spent on it this morning. So I start thinking about how “devil-may-care” people look driving with the windows down. Guys for sure, and young girls in jeeps mostly, but then, when I thought about it, I realized, that’s probably about it. Young girls in jeeps with long hair can can do whatever they want and they just look cool, in that youthful, “I’ve just been to the beach and I’m salty and sweaty and wind-whipped” way, even if they are on their way to work. I wanted to feel like one of the freewheeling, liberated-hair crowd. I had the windows down in above 90 degree heat for heavens sake. I should get something for that And then I realized that while there was a time that having the windows down was cool for me, those days are over. Just like that I was out of the club. After a certain age, women who drive with the windows down, they aren’t cool, no one believes they are on their way home from the beach. And they are covered, not with salt spray but road construction dust, accented with the scent of diesel fuel and exhaust Their a/c just doesn’t work and frankly, that’s not attractive. All I could do was sit at each red light, and I mean each and every red light on my drive home and scan the traffic for other drivers who’s a/c wasn’t working and mentally bond with them, one in our suffering. I wanted to stick my fist out of the window and yell something profound about our plight, but then it occurred to me that maybe their air works fine and they’re still just trying to be cool, part of the freewheeling club. I wasn't sure, so I suffered in silence.
So what’s to come of this? I can’t even be cool now that I’ve finally given up hair product and have given myself over to the casual and carefree. It’s so not fair. Next thing you know I’ll be going to the grocery store in slippers and curlers. These things have a way of degenerating. Casey tried to describe my hair today after I arrived home from my a/c-less drive home. While gingerly holding a few lifeless strands in her hand, it was as if she was trying to conjure up just the right words for a sorely pathetic situation. All she could finally get out was, in her words, “It just looks... (pause) it just looks... well... bad. (Can you tell Casey is hitting the teen years?) Enough said. Too old to ride with the windows down, too poor to fix the A/C, and hair that no longer plays with the wild wind and comes out laughing. They say that age has its privilege. So when do they send me my senior discount card?