Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Magic of Hair Dye

            “What do you call that color?”

            I turned around. There was an older woman standing behind me in the grocery store line, openly gawking at my hair. She was dressed in a lovely red suit and her white hair was in flawlessly rolled curls, brushed out and sprayed hard enough to resist tornado-force winds. She teetered on her 3-inch spike heels, and for just a moment, I wished that I could wear shoes like those without courting searing back pains. Those shoes were a thing of beauty.

            I smiled at her, sighing to myself. “Are you talking about my hair? It’s eggplant with a stripe of honey blonde in the front.” My black jeans and the tan t-shirt that had the saying “Hyperbole – It’s an English Teacher Thing” matched my black high-top Converse sneakers. I pulled the t-shirt down – it was a little tight - and pushed the strap of the huge black purse that went everywhere with me back up on my shoulder. I felt like a mess. A mess with eggplant purple hair.

            She nodded, moving close enough to me that I could see faint wrinkles under the heavy make-up around her eyes. I had made no attempt to hide mine. “I like it.”

            “You do?”

            “It works for you,” she answered thoughtfully.

            “Um…thanks, I think.” I had to admit that eggplant-colored hair with blonde stripes did indeed make a statement about me.

            “I’m thinking about changing my look,” she confided.

            “But you’re perfect,” I protested. “Your hair is beautiful, the red suit is the ideal color for you, and your shoes are to die for. Why would you want to change anything?”

            “This…” she said, making a sweeping gesture that encompassed her hair down to the spike of her fabulous shoes, “it’s just not me.” She held up her other hand so I could see the expensive bottle of champagne she was buying dangling gracefully between her perfectly manicured thumb and forefinger. “I signed the final divorce papers today.”

            “Oh,” I said. “I’m….”

            “Please don’t tell me you’re sorry,” she interrupted, “because I’m not.”

            “That’s good, then.” Wasn’t the couple in front of me ever going to finish checking out?

            “Can you do me a favor, sweetie?”

            “Um…sure.” I answered uncomfortably.

            “Would you give me the name of your hair stylist? This old-lady white hair has got to go.”

            I grinned and handed her Sara’s business card. “Good luck to you.”

            She saluted me with her bottle of wine as I swiped my credit card, picked up my bag and turned to leave the store. “I feel better already,” she replied, winking at me. “I’m so glad I met you. You have inspired me.”

            Wow, I inspired a stranger during the course of a 5-minute conversation while waiting in line at the grocery store. I felt a bit inspired myself. Let’s hear it for eggplant-colored hair with blonde stripes!

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