I had a very interesting day yesterday, the first of October. First, I colored a bright royal blue streak in my hair while still in that early morning slightly dazed state where all sorts of things seem reasonable to do. Just celebrating some personal stuff, you see - a sort of coming of age where I was giving up trying to be 'respectable'. The streak starts at the left temple, is fairly long, and is rather wider than I meant it to be. Then I started out for Glasgow and clients and bits of shopping. I saw the clients, did some shopping, and I now have a new way of sorting people. In fact, they sorted themselves quite neatly into several categories:
It's good. You don't have to wonder what kind of a person you're dealing with for even a moment. If I'd known it was going to be this much fun... Just think: I only paid 6 pounds sterling for that bottle of blue dye and there is still a lot more in it. That's what I call great value for money.
- Those who simply don't notice. And it takes some not noticing - though there is only one, this is not a subtle blue streak.
- Those who pretend not to notice. It's surprising how easy they are to tell from the first group. There are two subcategories here:
- People who can pull off pretending not to notice with a certain amount of coolness, and
- People who can't.
I had several questions I needed to ask the rather distinguished-looking man behind the pharmacy counter. As I asked and he answered, his eyes wandered over to the blue streak, back to my eyes, over again, back to my eyes, and then fixed on my eyes so he could concentrate on not reacting.
Naturally, there was a certain energy in my gaze because I was amused and trying to stay deadpan and energy has to go somewhere. Soon he became uncomfortable with such direct eye contact and dropped his gaze about a foot to the next anatomical landmark. After a bit he suddenly realized just what he was staring at so fixedly. A bright glow rose from his collar to his hairline, and he completely lost track of what he was saying. I am not a cruel person so I paid for my stuff and got out of there before I cracked up completely.
I probably need some T-shirts that say distracting things. I've wanted one for a long time that says, "Fight Entropy - create a little havoc everywhere you go." That seems suitable. However, even with the best of T-shirts, this actually may not be a problem that I can solve. But then, it really isn't my problem, is it?
- Those who tighten up their faces in disapproval. The less said about them the better. I don't need to know people like that.
- Those who smile. Who sort themselves into three subcategories:
- trying to hide the smile,
I thought the man in the bookstore was going to burst - he knows me by sight, but not personally, and felt he had to keep his hand in front of his mouth trying to hide a big grin while he talked with me - this from someone who runs a fantasy bookstore and has a bright red, bushy beard!
- smiling openly and looking away, and
- smiling and making friendly "kindred spirit" eye contact, to which I can't help but respond with a grin of my own.
- and the young lady in a category of her own: her hair was done all over in pastel streaks of pink, yellow, rose, green, blue, violet, and peach. She was like a whole spring flower garden all by herself. I stood stock still, gobsmacked. Then I could see her bracing herself, tensing for my expected disapproval. I turned my head slightly so she could see my blue streak and turned back to find a radiant grin on her face.
"Your hair is just gorgeous!" I enthused.
"You're nae so bad yoursel'," she responded with a twinkle. She looked at my hair thoughtfully for a moment, then smilingly added, "But you could aye do with a few more colors, missus."
I agreed. We were very pleased with each other. And I shall have more, though not quite so many as she had. I'm thinking a touch of soft violet, perhaps a little old rose - just small subtle streaks. Do you think just a tiny bit of turquoise would be too much? If so, don't bother telling me... I'm going to do it anyway.
- Fifth category: People who stand stock still with an open mouth, gobsmacked. I dunno about them - especially since it has happened to me. One just has to wait and see what the next reaction is.
© Copyright 1995 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.
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