Well, I didn’t make it so much as a month past the cancelled dye job before frantically Facebooking my hairdresser, the incomparable Jeanette, to beg for highlights. I cannot tell you how relieved I am, what a source of angst it was lo those few weeks to contemplate not greyitude so much as utter, unrelieved brown-ness. I need to hide out behind these streaks a little longer; I’m clearly not emotionally ready to return to my roots. And why is that so wrong? As if returning to your roots were not a form of nostalgie de boue.
My mother dyed her hair well into her seventies and everyone loved her. Once she dyed it lavender by mistake, something no one would have known about had I not the very next day marched into my Shakespeare class at University and informed my English prof – a Jesuit priest who, as it turned out, did not find the Chair of the Communications Department accidentally dyeing her hair purple in the least amusing. What can I say? My personal filtration system experiences periodic outages.
I do not characterize myself as wishy washy or flip-floppy so much as serially decisive. This is how it works. I make a decision. Then I make another decision. This second decision usually reverses the first decision. Then, if I’m on a roll, I might make a third decision, this one reversing the second. Perhaps I’ll come full circle back to my original decision. You never know. Making a decision enables me to own whatever it is for a little while, to walk a mile in its shoes. Perhaps I discover that its shoes hurt. Perhaps its shoes are high heels. If I had realized these shoes were high heels, I would have never forced my wretched feet into them. But I did and now I know. That’s how informed decision-making work in my world. It’s a journey. With detours. Some shunpiking involved.
Or think about diving off a 33 foot high diving board. You decide you’re going to do it. Then you climb up the ladder and stand at the end of the diving board staring down at the pool below. That’s when you realize thirty three feet is a lot of feet. You remember that you have never quite (or, to be honest, at all) mastered the art of diving and remind yourself that what you will achieve if you jump off that diving board is a belly flop. Given the distance, that’s belly flop is going to hurt like Hell. So you make a second decision — the decision not to belly-flop off the board.
My husband Ken is exceptionally thoughtful when it comes to decision making. He considers all the points of view, ponders every angle, weighs all the arguments, evaluates the pros and cons, does the consumer research. For every sound decision he has made, I have made three completely quixotic ones. You could argue that he makes more informed decisions, but I’m pretty sure I’ve had more fun along the way. More fun for me, at least. I think the perpetual squash game going on in my head drives him crazy, which I don’t understand given his love for sports.
One of the reasons I am serially decisive is to free myself to move forward. I cannot move forward if there’s a decision hanging over me. I can’t think of anything else. It looms over me, a giant question mark, blocking all progress. Can’t see through it. Can’t get around it. The only solution is to make a decision, any decision, and then make a desperate break for it.
So on September 25 my highlights will be resurrected, only this time, I think, with a little silver mixed in. I may be old but surely I can still be just a little sparkly?