Giving Exactly Zero

long and luxurious lashes. obviously fake.

She was pretty. Her hair framed her face and the horizon beyond in cascades of copper ringlets. They were very fine. Like a chain that would knot if you rubbed it between your fingers.

She wore a crown, of sorts, to keep her avalanche of hair from overtaking her face.It was likely a stretchy beaded band.  The ornament was a tanned leather, medium brown color. The beads were fashioned together in a star-linked pattern that daisy chained around her head.

She was sitting on a bench on the train platform, sheltered by a billboard. You only saw her when you were in almost directly in front of her, give or take thirty degrees.

She was looking down at the phone she held in her right hand. You could see the light reflected from the glue that attached her long thick very black lashes to whatever lash she was naturally given. There was some black eyeliner to try to cover the glue. It did only an okay job. She had a headphone in one ear, the other bud dangled from its wire, into her lap.

Two fingers of her left hand dangled a lit cigarette. The other three fingers gripped a small paper bag. She brought the bag to her face and you could make out her palm and fingers embracing a cylinder in the sack. It might have been a bottle, but more likely a can. She drew a jolt from the bag, and, while her hand was there, she twisted the burning tobacco to her lips. She drew again.

You couldn’t help but be impressed by her flagrant swilling and smoldering on the platform. This isn’t New York. Consumption is not allowed here.  But she clearly didn’t give rules a thought as she chattered cheerily on her phone call. You hoped she finished her smoke. And you tried to give as little care as she did.

Quiet Please

Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. Look on the far right. That's the point.

The main library is an old building. You can tell especially because the words carved in the facade that use the letter “U” are inscribed  as “V.” I don’t know why. It seems kinda Latin. Frankly, among the things I need to know, this level of arcane is even beyond DocThink. I can’t even.

The building is still amazing. It’s one of the libraries erected by ancient philanthropists. Ancient in this country, anyway. It was opened in 1902. While Washington, D.C. environs include much older–the Georgetown port goes back to the mid 1750’s–this is an old building in our city. Where old is after the Civil War.

The building is not a library anymore. It hasn’t been since it became overcrowded in the mid-1970s. It’s still impressive.

In addition to being “historic,” it sits on a square. Mt. Vernon Square to be exact. This square would have been a park, except it’s a big building instead. It’s a spot of land squared by roads. Some roads shoot from the square in angles reaching toward the edges of the city and beyond.

Walking past the building, I spied a blob. It was a purple blob. Getting closer the blob took on new details. There were two purple blobs. One blob was a backpack. The purple blob backpack sat on top of an indigo jacket blob. To the left of the backpack was the other purple blob. The second purple blob was bookended by black boots on one end and a sliver-gray puffy jacket on the other.

As the blob moved, it organized itself in my mind. I saw a mass of shiny black strands that went from a puddle of black to a curtain as the blob straightened itself. It’s a woman. I think she is a young woman.

Was she sleeping in the warm sun? Had she stepped away from the hostel a block away? Maybe she was a student.

Why was she sitting alone–and, to me, lonely–at this former library? My brain recalls that this library was a haven for rats.  I’ve seen scores of them scurrying across the plaza and up the steps at many dusks and evenings. Fingers crossed that any remaining rats leave her alone. I start to worry about her.

She was slumped on her backpack. She righted herself. That’s when her yard of hair moved and defined her. I couldn’t see her face. She was her hair. I wonder, is she is sad? Hungover? Drunk? Lost? I can impose anything on her.

She is a small figure on the far right of my lens. Almost invisible. but caught. She doesn’t belong, but she doesn’t belong anywhere else.

Post #95

The top of a male lion's head with a really weak mane. Such bad hair day!

My hair kept sticking up in the back. It’s so not fair. I did more than smooth it this morning. Yet unruly it became.

There are many mornings when I wake up and am bed-head free. This occurs most mornings, as a matter of fact. On a rare morning that it folds funny on itself or presents as a fluff ball at the back of my head, it’s usually simply a brush or a dab of product away from being tamed.

When did we start calling hair stuff product, by the way? When did hairspray, hair cream, hair mousse, hair gel, hair oil or hair wax–for starters–become product? It’s one of those words that do not really add to the understanding of the thing.

Product. It used to be Dippity-do or Blue Magic or Brylcreem or Aquanet or Vitalis. It was sometime after those products morphed into Vidal Sassoon shampoos and styling products on the way to Paul Mitchell and now dozens and dozens of “salon” products. You know the ones, with the bottles printed with labels that say:

Guaranteed only when sold by a professional hairdresser, otherwise it may be counterfeit, black market, old or tampered with.

But you can buy the product at Target. Target seems pretty legit. I get that you might be worried at Marshall’s, but if the product is available at WalMart, just what do those warnings mean? I say, nothing.

Back to this morning.

I don’t wash my hair every day. It’s not that time consuming, but you are talking to a Doc who has argued with The Spouse over coffee beans. Spouse brings home whole beans, and I complain bitterly about having to grind them in the electronic grinder for fifteen seconds. Seriously, just get me to the Joe fast. I’ll scoop but not grind. The Spouse still tries to sneak beans in the house with the idea that I will grind. I see beans and go out to buy a bag of pre-ground at lunch.

Back to the hair.

I didn’t notice the hairs sticking out at the back of my head until I had already spread some Moroccan Oil through to the ends. You’d think that would have subdued any recalcitrant locks. But, when I moved my head to the left to check the time on the wall clock, I spied that wayward curl in the mirror.

I’m not an overly-groomed person, but the one portion of hair was sticking out from my head in a ninety-degree angle, AKA straight out. If it were just a few hairs, I could brush my teeth and move on. But it was ringlet sized plus pointing away from my head perpendicularly. Unavoidable to the eye. Unacceptable for the office.

I tried some product. The damn hairs bounced back up like a reflex.

I tried holding my hand over the product covered cowlick for a few minutes. BOING! Back up. Next up was some water. Since the hair was primed with various forms of product, the water must have activated some latent management properties. Sadly this reactivation only worked around my right ear. The sticking up part behind my head remained in that position.

Not to be defeated, I applied heat to the productized and wetted hair. Voila! Tame achieved.

In the office, I looked in the mirror in the restroom. I looked to the left and saw the hair sticking out, again! It was the damn wind. The damn wind that thinks it’s still winter and drives the windchill into the twenties. The damn wind that should be a welcome breeze but instead presents as a precursor to the nannies flying in on umbrellas from London. The damn wind that re-agitated my controlled hair and let that one piece go wild.


I took my hand and placed it on the back of my head, over the sticking out part of my hair, and put my other hand on my hip and sashayed out of the toilet.

If you can’t beat ’em, act like you don’t care. “Fiddle-dee-dee!


Such a cute mottled working dog.
Cute on the dog, dumb on the girl.

My eyelashes are filling back in. I never lost them all. There were a few that stubbornly stood by and supported me as I vainly (both in conceit and in futility) worked the mascara wand. Now those soldiers have fresh recruits.

I ran in the local market because I needed peppercorns for a recipe and saw a friend picking up a last minute corn-bread mix. She said she didn’t recognize me in my red-head hat, which I pulled off showing my ‘do to her widening-eyes. She remembers me with long blonde locks.

My hair is coming in, too. It’s thick and soft like moss, and dark and light in patches that look really cool close-cropped but may make me look like a crazed Australian shepherd as it grows out.

A colleague walked by me without recognition–three times. Even after I tapped his arm.

I am seeing the world the same as it ever was, but others are not seeing me in the same world.

Am I moving on too fast? Are the people around me trying to tell me something? Am I missing some important meaning?

My hair is showing itself to be curly–and unruly at that. I see some of it sticking up and out. I don’t think that I have any product that can tame it.

Spring has finally broken through. After three miserable weeks of Sunday-Monday snow in a row, it looks like the bad weather is behind us. Today was glorious. Stuff all a-bloom, the sunshine warm and welcome. I decided to go to the driving range rather than watch golf on TV.

ugly golf shoes, crazy shadow and 9 iron

I had a new obnoxiously aqua/turquoise golf-skirt to wear with my bright lime shirt and joker shoes to satisfy my personal rule that golf clothes must be ugly. I went to my urban golf hideout with my 9-iron.

I’m always a lousy golfer, but I wasn’t even sure that I could swing my club. I got a little bucket of balls.

I stood on my little square of green carpet. It was crowded so I had to take the stall without a tee. That seemed good. Less pressure. I just had the one club with me, and I took it in two hands and stretched it over my head and behind my back. Rolled a ball onto my plot and set my feet. Placed the club across my left palm and met it with my right hand. Looked at that white dimpled ball and wondered if everyone was looking at me.

Seriously. I did. Like everyone knew my secret–as if I had a secret.

Why would anyone look? They had their own balls to hit. Their own grips to adjust. Their own club to blame for that slice. What was curbing me?

I thought the strangers could see me and knew that this was my first swing since my treatment.

But they weren’t looking. They didn’t see me either, but they didn’t know who I was before.

People ask me what I am going to do with my hair. Keep it short? Grow it out? I don’t know. I don’t know what it will be like. I don’t need to decide today.

I do know that I am grateful that it is coming back. And for alot of other things, too.

Almost Cut My Hair

A comb with a bunch of blond hairs. That used to be in my head.

I washed my hairs today.

Normally, I wash my hair. But I don’t have enough left to call it hair. Hair is a bunch of hair. Hair is a pony tail. Hair can be braided. Hair whips around your face when the windows are down in the car in the summertime.

Hair takes in and gives off the smell of shampoo, of a campfire, of the scent of your partner.

Hair is something you flip when you have an attitude. When you dismiss someone. Or when you’re flirting.

Hair is something I play with when I’m thinking. I tuck it behind my ears. I brush it away from my face. Not so much twirling it, but placing it. I’ve seen this annoyance on video. I bet the experts would tell me to stop.

Hairs is all I have left. The hair came out in huge swaths. It seems that everything in the house now has a clump of golden locks on it. It’s tiresome.

But it’s my mane. Was my mane. Is now in the trash.

Time for a clean sweep and a new beginning. I will miss my hair, but not so much my hairs.