Before I left, I had a string of “personal maintenance” tasks that needed to get done.  There was the vitamin pill stash to restock, the well-woman check (with a nod to those who know what a whole hoopla that is to get done) for which I was already overdue… and a haircut.

Patrice is an amazing woman who is both dear friend, past neighbor, and hair goddess, even with my unruly frocks.  Every time I go in there, I ask her for a haircut that will benefit from being forced, still wet, under a bike helmet.  She looks distraught – she has a story about someone with a similar request who met a terrible demise, though presumably this is correlation, not causation –  but then does miracles.

This time I had a greater challenge – I needed a cut that would not require a hair drier, stand up to regular features in blog photos, not be too short so I could still tie it back in the Wyoming winds and California sea breezes, be presentable when I was with friends and family, provide some interest around my face since I don’t wear makeup (tried, gave up), and grow out (over three months) in way that would keep it looking freshly coiffed.

Patrice set to work on my tresses, and snipping away, she asked the question that comes naturally to a hair goddess – “What [hair] products are you bringing?”  For a moment I just sat there, trying to think of how to break the bad news.  Hair product?  I was making fundamental decisions about the exact amount of toothpaste I would need/could fit.  Hair product seemed far down the list in my intensely scrutinized space-conscious decision-making on what to bring.

After a moment without speaking (I know, it was that big…) I said, “None.”  I looked at Patrice in the mirror and thought about how many times she had saved me, given me confidence with an amazing cut-and-color before a special black tie event, a media appearance, a post-holiday-season take-the-attention-away-from-my-wasteline refreshment.  How could I deny her solid advice now.

“Bring two.”  Two? No way. No how.  Clean teeth without cavities was more important than a confidence-building coif.  Besides, wouldn’t a Wyoming windstorm give me the appropriate windswept look naturally?

I compromised, and gave her a choice between the two I had.  She picked one, and when I got home that evening, I dutifully packed one into my traveling dopp kit (for those not from the mid-west, that’s the bag of all your toiletries).

Two days later, while I was practicing styling my new do (that is, by actively not styling it – isn’t that the point?) I tried a bit of the chosen product.  Good, but missing something.  Reluctantly, out came the other product, and I tried it too.  I liked what they did working together.  Sigh, in the bag they both go.

George Burns once noted that all the people who know how to rule the world are cutting hair and driving taxis.  I’m inclined to agree.


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