One of the benefits of my hands and arms not being fully operational (what with the tendonitis and all) has been that the condition has left me plenty of room for quiet, reflective moments, time on the couch spent mulling over such monumental matters as people who refer to cucumbers as “pickles”; the increasing popularity of large wooden plugs in the pendulous, distended earlobes of the young; and the fact that I’ve inherited a scalp with so little oil production that I can easily go a week without washing my hair.
“I don’t understand this,” Mary says. “I can’t go more than two days.”
“Have you tried?”
“Look, I think I know my head.”
“Do you, Mary? Do we ever know our own heads?”
My own head comes near the current end of a genetic line of women with thick, dry hair. The truth is that it doesn’t get oily, it gets dusty; and brush as we might, we run the risk of finding, say, the odd bit of lint stuck in there.
If I had a dollar for every time someone reached for my head saying “Hold still a second, you’ve got something in your hair…” I’d have enough money for, well, several really good hairnets.
“A guy on the bus once pulled a live bug out of my hair,” I tell Mary. “Do you know how embarrassing that is?”
“That’s what you get for having thick hair,” she taunts. It’s an ongoing thing between us: she envies my thick, bugful hair and I envy her great-looking legs, despite the increasingly bad knees.
We each envy what the other has, despite neither of us having anything to do with its possession beyond upkeep.
“Hmm,” I say.
“Well, hey,” she offers, “at least they’re checking you out, huh?”
It is quiet as we stare at each other. “What kind?” she says.
Her blue eyes have that twinkle in them, the one that lights her face from the inside, particularly when she’s messing with me. “The bug that he pulled from your hair. What kind was it?”
What kind of bug? Why I oughta…
She laughs as I lean forward, perchance to slug her one, but I am too late.
She’s already out of range.
The knees aren’t out of those legs yet.
And I really should wash my hair.