2 February 2012

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

I don’t play the cancer card very often. It’s a conscious decision not to be viewed as less than healthy. Mostly, I save it for when I want my friend Jess to pick me up in her BMW with the passenger seat pre-heated.

But just because I’m not complaining doesn’t mean I want to listen to someone else’s problem, unless its from a very close friend. So yesterday, I was dragging the basset hound down the street, when I ran into a woman with whom I’ve had several conversations. She also has a dog, is my age, but apart from that, we have little else in common.

Often, I listen to people more than I’d like to, because Jed will plant himself in the middle of the sidewalk, for long periods of time.  Moving him is like pulling a Sherman tank and I’m a sitting duck for grumblers.

So she asks me how I am. ‘Super Fantastic,’ I lie.  In fact I wasn’t fine at all, having had a wildly frustrating day dealing with hospital politics and absent doctors. But thinking that I was on top of the world, she launched into her own woes. One of which was having thinning hair. She’d had a high fever and some of her hair had fallen out. I didn’t care. ‘Look,’ she said, taking off her hat to prove how bad it really was.

‘Shut the f*ck up,’ Inner Voice said. But my outer voice, without thinking, blurted out , ‘Don’t worry about it. I’m bald.’ Her face fell, slightly confused, but with a spark of understanding. I threw her a bone. ‘I just finished chemo. And I’m fine. But this is a wig.’ She put her hand on my arm and said in hushed tones, ‘Oh no...do you have c..?’

‘Had,’ I cut her off. And then I turned the conversation around, saying that her hair, which was a thousand times more abundant than mine, would grow back. She was busy scanning my face. ‘Oh yeah,’ she said, ‘I can tell by your eyelashes. They’re thinner.’

No kidding. And this is exactly why I don’t talk about myself, because people look at you like a science experiment, or one of those puzzles at the back of People magazines, called, ‘What is Wrong With This Picture?’

Then she suggested that we have lunch some time. (I don’t think so). Thankfully Jed chose that moment to howl at a daschund, and the Sherman Tank turned into a Ferrari, and dragged me down the street.

31 January 2012

5-Star Hair in a 3-Star Hotel

Celebrations were in order following the excellent results from my CT scan, so Jim and I headed for an overnighter in Niagara Falls USA. Not the prettiest town in the world, by any stretch of the imagination, but full of good shopping and some above average food. Also, the falls are pretty impressive.

After a day of shopping, and an early bird dinner, we headed back to the hotel to enjoy our luxury mattress and flat screen TV. For us, there’s nothing more delightful than climbing between crispy white sheets in a bed that someone else has made. For full relaxation, I decided to ditch the hair. The problem was, that I had nowhere to put it.

According to my friends at Continental Hair, a wig must be stored properly when not in use, to maintain its' $1,600 quality. Normally, after a long day of making me look good, the wig is placed over a styrofoam head in my closet. But since the head doesn’t have a passport, it had to stay at home.

A Fine Bob
So I looked around our 3-star room, and the only logical solution seemed to be the ice bucket. It was slightly tapered, so I flipped it over and placed my wig over its base. Still, the base was a bit too big and I didn’t want to overstretch the elastic. So that left the coffee machine. And since we had no intention of ever drinking weak American coffee, it was in need of a purpose. (Why drink motel coffee when Jim was perfectly capable of walking to Starbuck’s at 9 am in the middle of a snowstorm!)

So we lay in bed, (me in my sleep cap), looking at the hairy coffee machine across the room. ‘Did you know,' said Jim, ‘That I counted three ladies wearing wigs in the restaurant tonight?’  Really?! I did not know that, and I usually have a highly sensitive hair radar. But he was certain, having a stylish mother who dabbled with acrylic hair in the 70’s. 

‘It makes perfect sense,’ he said, ‘Saturday night. Niagara Falls. Early Bird. Seniors. Wigs.' Of course was right. And surely he was describing them, and not us. I thought of the ladies across town, who were probably at home, ripping off their fake hair, and storing it properly. So I sipped my red wine, thinking that the only thing separating me from those gals was about 35 years, a man in my bed, and a well coiffed Mr Coffee.