I showed up at school yesterday morning, not realizing that it was Crazy Hair Day. And I was wearing my usual short grey persona. Hmm … this won’t do. Who am I to miss out on a celebration? Kids were getting off the buses with all sorts of designs atop their noggins.
To the secretary I went, with thoughts of alligator paper clips in mind. She had lots of the black ones, and I started arranging them on my tresses. Okay, this is better. I’m fitting in now.
Off to the Grade 5/6 class for more clips. Jayne had a good supply of my preferred accessories. “Why don’t you have some kids help you?” she suggested. Immediately there were five girls ready to lend a hand. I was clipped here and also there. One girl grabbed an elastic and proceeded to tie the world’s smallest ponytail in my upper greyness. Felt like it was a half inch tall. And here comes a small sponge inserted into a forest of metal at the back. Jayne too was busy. She had cut a swath of 2″ wide red ribbon and finished me off with a tidy bow. Gosh, I looked good!
Now the freedom part:
1. I pranced from classroom to classroom, from principal’s office to gym, showing off my new look and admiring the creations of the short people. Lots of laughs pinging off the walls.
And then I thought about my afternoon, to be spent out in the world doing cool things. Should I retain my adornments for the community or ditch the whole thing in the spirit of normality? Some kids said “Take that stuff off.” Others smiled and offered “Go for it!”
I’ve never been really big on normality, so let’s continue the list:
2. Went to my bike shop. Ta-pocketa was ready to support me in life, having been tweaked for the mountains of the summer. My bicycle guy and gal had lots to tell me and grinned considerably between explanations. Sadly there were no other customers in the store. I wanted to flaunt my newfound beauty.
3. To the gym. One last day on the elliptical before testing the roads of life. Lots of v-shaped men sporting maximum muscles. I wondered if my red bow would fit in. I was nervous. I quelled the pain by initiating conversations with guys who were starting to stare. I’d laugh and I guess they felt obligated to join in. Later I figured out that my proactive words were a way to protect myself so I stopped doing that. I walked around silently from then on, watching a few frowns appear, and quite a few smiles. I survived nicely.
4. How about supper? I jaunted over to one of my fave restaurants – Mai’s Café. Lots of folks inside. I gulped a bit and opened the door, marching up to my favourite server and asking her if it was okay to come in looking like this. She laughed and said “No problem.” And there was chuckling from most of the tables too. See? I’m still alive.
5. Walked back to my car past evening strollers. There were a few averted faces but also some nodding and mini-cheering. Cool.
6. Why not go to a movie? Sure. The story was forgettable but I loved being stared at – before, after and probably during.
After walking in the door at home, I disassembled. Here were the contents of my head:
20 black alligator clips
1 red alligator clip
1 maroon alligator clip
1 green alligator clip
1 elastic band
1 small sponge
1 lovely red ribbon
What a pretty boy
As I headed to bed, I got thinking. Despite some initial qualms, the whole “Look at me!” adventure was no big deal. Yes, I felt free, but it seemed so … ordinary. Who cares if some folks frown? Who cares that sometimes I was the centre of attention? As you no doubt can tell, I like that. And who cares if I journeyed outside the box of expected public presentation?
There are infinitely larger challenges to address in life
Will I be brave enough to do so?