Holiday Trimmings

It is day one of the new year, and I’ve just returned from five blissful days on the southeastern coast where a stay at Darlings by the Sea accommodated both my luxurious taste and meager budget. The pristine and almost un-populated beaches provided the backdrop for Frisbee, long walks (at least, on Karen’s part), pipe smoking, competitive scrabble, dolphin observation and the occasional feeding of seagulls. The weather was glorious … sunny skies and light breezes.

My failure to apply sunscreen resulted in a cherry red face with two stylishly white polygons where my sunglasses had protected my vision from the glaring sun! Lest envy become a byproduct of this E-mail, let me just say that the combination of said sunburn and an unintended ‘new’ hair style left me looking a bit freakish. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that children were terrified, but I did get some odd looks and a giggle or two.

It happened only two hours before we were to join other travelers on the highways and byways for our trip south. I was up before sunrise. There were suitcases to pack, bank deposits to make, packages to mail and a picnic basket to fill. And let us not forget that there was the loading of Karen’s tiny Honda Insight that somehow must accommodate two large suitcases, one medium sized carryon, a camera case, a duffel bag filled with gifts, the food hamper, a cooler of soft drinks and a sports bag brimming with beach paraphernalia. We had to be on the road by 10:30 a.m.! My itinerary was firm. Yet my attempt to save money by deferring a much needed haircut had left me in urgent need of a trim. My once exacting and sleek hairlines now twisted and curved into grotesque shapes that refused to be tamed by even the strongest of palmades. What was a girl to do?

Karen was protesting furiously as I wrapped a towel around my shoulders and handed her the newly purchased GE Hair Trimmer. “I don’t think this is a good idea.” She said. But I wasn’t to be derailed from my plan of action. A half inch off the back to eliminate the wiggish look and a tidying up of the nape area was just the beginning. I had plans for the front as well. A trimming of the bangs and elimination of the over-the-ear hair growth would just about do the trick. Karen, however, was standing firm. “I’ll touch up the back but I refuse to trim the front. It’s a dangerous proposition and I’ll have no part in it.”

With the backside head hairs trimmed, I reclaimed the clippers from Karen. A promise to be careful accompanied her departure. Unable to decipher the correct way to apply the clipper prongs regulating the length of cut, I took the trimmer in hand and placed the fully exposed teeth against the base of my ear. It was at this very moment that things went wrong. Very, very, wrong. I swear to you that the clippers took on a life of their own as they progressed quickly above the ear sheering off four inches of hair in a two inch diameter in a matter of seconds. There are moments in one’s life when time stands still and the lens of the camera zooms in to capture the intensity of the moment. My lips moved in slow motion and the profanity that escaped would have sent my mother scurrying for a bar of soap with which to wash out my mouth. The profanity was quickly followed by a Charlie Brown AAAAAaaaaaahhhhhgggg! There was no time for thought or action. Karen’s quick knock on the door was followed by her entrance. The look on her face said it all as did her subsequent 20 minutes of helpless tears and laughter.

As for the bald spots, they are the unfortunate byproduct of misplaced confidence in my own abilities. And there are two … one by mistake and the other to even up both sides. The money I saved on a haircut had to be invested in hats, scarves and an extra eyebrow pencil to shade in the patches of missing hair. The past 10 days have found me attempting to pull strands from the back of my head forward to cover my bare spots. I’ve made up plenty of stories to explain the bald patches (shaved to accommodate stitches, lost a bet, radiation treatments, extra in a Frankenstein movie, etc.). I don’t think it would much matter if it weren’t for the fact that I am overcompensating by drawing on bigger lips and bushier eyebrows.In spite of or perhaps because of my misplaced confidence … (do I dare reference the slippery slope gardening or geese episodes) … 2002 has been a memorable year. I don’t know what the new year shall bring but one thing is for certain … the hair clippers are going in the trash and, as soon as I gather the nerve, I’m making a standing monthly appointment with my beautician.

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