Monday, November 23, 2009

Appearances are what they seem

A woman in a brown squaw dress ran by me as I parked the car on my way to a much needed hair appointment. I took a mental snapshot - a Polaroid of something that my brain should have recognized as unusual but that left me, instead, an imprint to consider. The initial negative indicated that the beading on the dress looked awful, fake even, and probably it looked that way because the beading was plastic, not at all authentic. Then came the color: "I know people can be eccentric and all but gah. I mean, sometimes the hair salon is where folks are able to express themselves without judgement, but.. Am I judging? Is she wearing boots? Would boots go with a squaw dress? Surely, they must. Or sandals. Leather, strappy ones. This must be a product of some sort of Abercrombie ad, and shouldn't her hair be braided on each side of her face instead of down and frizzy? Abercrombie loves braids. And oh wait - is that a sucker in her mouth?"

The answer to the last question was yes. This is when I allowed myself the double take and realized that this woman was not a woman after all. She was a kid - a kid in a squaw dress, probably the product of a blue light special rather than an Abercrombie fashion attempt. Her hair was unkept because she had probably played at P.E., a common thing for 4th or 5th graders to do. She wasn't making a fashion statement. She was running an errand for her mom. "Get my purse out of the car," I imagined was the order, or, "Bring mommy her cigarettes." Something like that.

I snorted at the brain frenzy I wasted on that moment - a brutal barrage of thought per millisecond - and went into the salon.

Later, my hair goupy with hair dye, a metal pick in hand for the itchy places, I settled in under the UV dryer with a People Magazine that promised all the juicy details of Elizabeth Smart's ordeal overcome by Mormonism and David Letterman's stoicism in the face of extortion - yes, he had affairs with interns, but he's such a brooding man, a kind, brooding man - and Angelina and Brad's twins at the airport (again). That's when I heard Squaw girl's mom in the next room. I couldn't see her, but the conversation was loud enough that I may as well have been in the same room.

I tried not to listen but I figured that distraction from People Magazine wasn't entirely a bad thing, and depending on what I heard, might even be a good thing.. or a most terrible one, in which case how would I know unless I listened.. Right? So I listened.

The mom was on and on about her Botox touch up. How her personal trainer was overcharging her $10 a session. How she wished her daughter (who was getting her hair done) would just cut off all of her hair, and that if she didn't sit still, the hairdresser would have to cut it all off because she would have to keep evening it out..blah blah blah. People Magazine won.

As I was finishing up with my hairdresser, I caught a glimpse of the mom and her squaw. I thought, "Wow. She looks like every other typical mom. I never would've guessed that a person who was waffling on about personal trainers and Botox would be of average size, wearing typical mom jeans, and sporting a typical mom do. I wouldn't say that she was especially pretty or witty at all.

It was an unexpected realization and I began to giggle at the irony. I mean, who did she think she was with all of that talk? Someone off the cover of People? Katie Holmes in disguise? And what was she teaching her kid?

That's when I saw myself in the mirror - getting my hair dyed and trimmed - my own version of the blue light special - awful, plastic, fake even - not at all authentic.

Everyday is Halloween in America.

2 comments:

K a b l o o e y said...

I wish the universe would let me judge sometimes without feeling compelled to immediately remind me I have no right to do so. Just for fun without guilt. But things don't work that way and we're probably nicer for it.

Christine said...

Dude. Like Margaret Atwood with the ending that punches you in the gut.

Awesome.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Appearances are what they seem

A woman in a brown squaw dress ran by me as I parked the car on my way to a much needed hair appointment. I took a mental snapshot - a Polaroid of something that my brain should have recognized as unusual but that left me, instead, an imprint to consider. The initial negative indicated that the beading on the dress looked awful, fake even, and probably it looked that way because the beading was plastic, not at all authentic. Then came the color: "I know people can be eccentric and all but gah. I mean, sometimes the hair salon is where folks are able to express themselves without judgement, but.. Am I judging? Is she wearing boots? Would boots go with a squaw dress? Surely, they must. Or sandals. Leather, strappy ones. This must be a product of some sort of Abercrombie ad, and shouldn't her hair be braided on each side of her face instead of down and frizzy? Abercrombie loves braids. And oh wait - is that a sucker in her mouth?"

The answer to the last question was yes. This is when I allowed myself the double take and realized that this woman was not a woman after all. She was a kid - a kid in a squaw dress, probably the product of a blue light special rather than an Abercrombie fashion attempt. Her hair was unkept because she had probably played at P.E., a common thing for 4th or 5th graders to do. She wasn't making a fashion statement. She was running an errand for her mom. "Get my purse out of the car," I imagined was the order, or, "Bring mommy her cigarettes." Something like that.

I snorted at the brain frenzy I wasted on that moment - a brutal barrage of thought per millisecond - and went into the salon.

Later, my hair goupy with hair dye, a metal pick in hand for the itchy places, I settled in under the UV dryer with a People Magazine that promised all the juicy details of Elizabeth Smart's ordeal overcome by Mormonism and David Letterman's stoicism in the face of extortion - yes, he had affairs with interns, but he's such a brooding man, a kind, brooding man - and Angelina and Brad's twins at the airport (again). That's when I heard Squaw girl's mom in the next room. I couldn't see her, but the conversation was loud enough that I may as well have been in the same room.

I tried not to listen but I figured that distraction from People Magazine wasn't entirely a bad thing, and depending on what I heard, might even be a good thing.. or a most terrible one, in which case how would I know unless I listened.. Right? So I listened.

The mom was on and on about her Botox touch up. How her personal trainer was overcharging her $10 a session. How she wished her daughter (who was getting her hair done) would just cut off all of her hair, and that if she didn't sit still, the hairdresser would have to cut it all off because she would have to keep evening it out..blah blah blah. People Magazine won.

As I was finishing up with my hairdresser, I caught a glimpse of the mom and her squaw. I thought, "Wow. She looks like every other typical mom. I never would've guessed that a person who was waffling on about personal trainers and Botox would be of average size, wearing typical mom jeans, and sporting a typical mom do. I wouldn't say that she was especially pretty or witty at all.

It was an unexpected realization and I began to giggle at the irony. I mean, who did she think she was with all of that talk? Someone off the cover of People? Katie Holmes in disguise? And what was she teaching her kid?

That's when I saw myself in the mirror - getting my hair dyed and trimmed - my own version of the blue light special - awful, plastic, fake even - not at all authentic.

Everyday is Halloween in America.

2 comments:

K a b l o o e y said...

I wish the universe would let me judge sometimes without feeling compelled to immediately remind me I have no right to do so. Just for fun without guilt. But things don't work that way and we're probably nicer for it.

Christine said...

Dude. Like Margaret Atwood with the ending that punches you in the gut.

Awesome.