My Hair is Turning White

hair

I’ve done a number of different things since March to address the boredom and monotony of laying low while the virus raged, and one of those things concerned my appearance. When it became obvious that we were in this for the long haul, I vowed that I wouldn’t cut my hair or shave until the ordeal was over.

While I had visions of growing a beard that would have fit right in with those worn by Confederate Generals during the Civil War, I relented  after about two months because K couldn’t stand it, and even I had to admit that it looked gnarly and needed a trim. That’s what happens when one’s facial hair has the texture and feel of steel wool.

That wasn’t the case with my hair, but I ultimately had to get a trim in July because while I enjoyed the curls and the long locks, it not only had become unmanageable, but was growing faster and longer on the sides of my head compared to the top, which gave me a mad-scientist kind of look.

I got the hair trimmed a second time a few weeks ago, but am still trying to figure out a way where I can keep it long without having it look like a mullet. The beard, on the other hand, bit the dust shortly thereafter.

The truth is, I had never intended to make it permanent, and was getting annoyed with the constant trimming and nurturing it took to keep it looking reasonably good, so I made the impulsive decision to get rid of it.  Perhaps it was because K’s mom said I looked like Father Time, or maybe I rationalized by saying the election results served as a symbolic turning point in the virus saga. Regardless of the reason, I marched into the bathroom, retrieved my trusty trimmer, and hacked it off.

The experience was a little traumatic because I have not been completely clean shaven for at least ten years, and for most of my adult life I have had either a mustache or mustache and goatee. So when the deed was done and I didn’t recognize the face looking back at me in the mirror after studying it for a few minutes, I noticed four things.

The first was that the skin on my face was a soft and smooth as the proverbial baby’s bottom.  The second was my face felt like it was in a caught in a cold breeze. The blanket that had covered it for eight months was gone, and it took about three days before my skin adjusted to the external air temperatures.

The third thing and best thing was that I looked ten years younger. Facial hair has a tendency to make you look older (which is why I grew a mustache my junior year in high school to prevent from getting carded), and facial hair that is mostly white, no matter how good it looks, definitely ages you. So looking like a person who was closer to fifty than in his early sixties was a definite bonus.

But the one thing that caught me completely off guard was my hair. I knew I was greying before I started the beard, but sometime within the last eight months it didn’t simply get greyer, it had become very white. The change, quite frankly, was shocking.

I suppose I hadn’t noticed it because every time I brushed my teeth, or shaved the parts of my face where the beard wasn’t growing, I never paid attention to the hair, other than the fact that it was getting unruly. Instead, my eyes always seemed to lock onto the beard. That focus changed when the white from my face disappeared, because now there was only one place where I saw white.  That was on my head, and it wasn’t subtle.

I have no idea when the color changed from salt and pepper to mostly salt, but it doesn’t matter. Whether it be the stress of the past year, genetics or a combination of both, I’m turning into my mother in that regard. That is not a bad thing because while her hair turned completely white in her early sixties, like mine seems to be doing, it was a striking look and she wore it well. Plus she had a full head of luxurious white hair up until the day she passed at the age of 92. I should be so lucky.

It will be interesting to see how long it will take for the last spec of color to disappear from my scalp. I don’t remember when Mom’s stopped coloring her hair and went with the snowy owl look, but I know I do know it was that way when she was 64, because that is how old she was when I was married and the wedding pictures don’t lie.

The day will come in the near future where the color will completely disappear. But I could care less as long as I have something covering my scalp.  You see, I have a large head and very white skin, and combining that with no hair or beard will make my head look like an albino pumpkin. Should that day come, it’s a good bet the beard will make a comeback, and maybe then I won’t care how long it grows.

Note: You may not see any posts from me the rest of 2020. I need to get started on the second novel, and can’t seem to devote time to that and the blog. I’ve been putting it off for weeks now, and am truly unmotivated. But I like the concept in my head and think it will work, but have no idea whether the words will flow or if the experience will feel like I’m swimming in caramel. Time will tell. So assuming this will be my last entry for 2020, may you all have a wonderful, peaceful and healthy holiday season.

A Respite

It’s been a few weeks since my last post. Some of the reasons for this are because work has been busier than usual, and because I’ve been mulling over novel #2. My editor has been encouraging me to start, and I have been slowly putting an outline together, but the time spent on that takes away from this. At some point in time I will have decide to move forward or not bother, but that will be a different story for a different day.

The truth is that I haven’t felt like posting anything because I have been in such a down mood. The campaign and the mean-spiritedness behind it put me in a place that resulted in recent entries I thought were maudlin and depressing, and I didn’t feel like spreading anymore of that around.  And this is from someone who HATES politics and has traditionally avoided talking about it.

But now that the election is over, I’m glad to have a respite from the barrage of lies and negativity. I’m also glad that there will be a new occupant in the White House that will hopefully be able to change the narrative, bring civility to the political process and ultimately begin to heal the divisions that are so deeply imbedded.

Having said that, I am curious about how the 72 days between now and the inauguration unfold. 

I’m not surprised that Trump’s initial reaction is that of a spoiled child who threatens to hold his breath until he gets his way. It is distressing however to see the reality of how this election unfolded being replaced by his insistence that he won the election, only to have it stolen from him. It is shocking how many actually believe that, which makes me wonder if those same people would start believing in Santa Claus if their leader insisted he was real.

This kind of behavior and misinformation is indicative of the man, and while sad it isn’t a surprise. Unless there is proof of election malfeasance however, he should shut up and go away quietly, because that kind of fantasy makes only deepens the divisions, but what are the odds of that actually happening? One can’t help but believe he is more interested in seeding doubt so he can appear like a martyr to his faithful, then following tradition and doing the right thing by bowing out gracefully. It is this selfishness and self-centeredness that is one of the many reasons I am glad he lost.

I don’t care what anyone says, the anger in this country, fostered by the kill or be killed attitude where people with different points of view that are belittled and demonized, are the byproduct of his conduct and rhetoric. It’s one thing to disagree, but it is another to do so in such a way that spawns hate, division and resentment. That is not who we are. Hopefully most people will come around to see it that way.

One of the most ironic things about yesterday is that as I was watching some of the news broadcasts later that evening, and scenes were being shown of the spontaneous celebrations in our city streets, one of the commentators mentioned that these were the kinds of scenes you normally witness when a dictator is overthrown. I had never thought of it in those terms, but I have to admit it does feel that way. At least for me.

Still, there is a lot to be wary about.  Most news reports have indicated that the next 12 to 18 weeks are going among the worst we have experienced as far as the virus is concerned, and most of that time frame is on Trump’s watch. Who knows what the landscape will look like, or how many more will die, between now January 20th?

I think it is safe to say we will see more of the same given how the administration has handled the virus so far. I suspect that most of that time will be spent, other than chasing legal windmills, on settling political scores, whether it be firing Fauci, pardoning Manafort, Lynch, or any of the loyalists who were sent to jail, than trying to help the population navigate what can be a potentially lethal time.

For me, I’m going to try to focus on the positive and ignore whatever the Trump camp is (or isn’t) doing. Everybody is eventually going to have to lick their wounds, and try to come together and listen to one another so we can heal, grow and move on. And job one is the pandemic because nothing, including the economy, changes until we get more control over the spread. We need to break the cycle of tribalism that has come to define our politics, and the only way to do that is to stop treating opponents as enemies, but don’t expect any of that to start until after the inauguration.

These next seventy two days can unfold a number of different ways. The best case scenario is that the White House accepts the results without destroying faith in the process so that we can begin to heal. The worst case is that the Trump camp remains entrenched, burns our traditions of civility and an orderly transition of power to the ground, and some of his most enthusiastic supporters decide to take to the streets and incite violence in an attempt to take back what they believe is theirs.

The reality, as always, will probably be somewhere in between. I’m hoping for the best but understand that’s expecting too much. It’s going to be grim winter, but at least there is hope for a better day.

That hope is all the respite I need despite what may unfold. I don’t expect miracles, and it is naïve to think that the president-elect has a magic wand that he can wave to make this all go away. Our legislative leaders need to find ways to find common ground and act for the betterment of us all. Otherwise we will eventually find ourselves in the same place we have been the last four years. I’d like to think we are smarter than that.