Miss Frizzle

Goldstein1
This is what you want to hear from your hairdresser:

“Stunning!”

“Gorgeous!”

“Perfection!”

This is what you do NOT want to hear:

—silence—

—heavy silence—

Then​: “Why didn’t you​ tell​ me you colored your hair???!!!”

I was at Erich, “Hairdresser to the Stars,” for my first perm. He styled all the senior managers’ wives at my office in Indianapolis. I was treating myself and couldn’t wait. Erich hissed as he unrolled curlers that had promised beautiful, bouncy waves. Why was he upset? I was frozen with apprehension. The answer became clear after he finished. My hair was fried. I looked like I had been hit by lightning. ​Twice​. Incredibly, ​he​ was angry at ​me​. “If you had told me, I would have used different chemicals!”

“Well, you didn’t ​ask​ me,” I was thisclose to tears. He was the hair professional. Not me. I stared in horror at my Bride of Frankenstein reflection, but my polite Midwestern personality was warring with the need to be assertive. I actually felt badly for ​him​, and heard myself reassuring this hair butcher that all was fine. I even tipped him, but refused to return so that he could “work” on it. I was never stepping into his salon again. I went home and made brownies, eating the whole damned pan.

My hair and I flew home to visit my parents the next weekend. Dad was waiting at the airport gate, and didn’t recognize this wild­-maned girl flinging herself at him. He looked stunned and was speechless the entire ride home.

Mom knew what to expect, having impotently listened to my hysterical phone calls. She pulled me into a big hug, whispering: “I made an appointment with my hairdresser for tomorrow.”

I held on tightly, so relieved to be home. Moms can fix anything.

My Hispanic Angels

Some people are born with certain skill sets. They have an ear for learning new languages, or are musical, or athletic. I was born with the ability to get hopelessly lost no matter how detailed the set of directions. It’s in my family gene pool.

One evening, I needed to drive a mere 29 miles from suburbia to dinner in Miami Beach, Florida. I don’t know what went wrong, but I somehow exited the highway and landed in an area where English was a foreign language. Every billboard, every sign was in Spanish. I located a gas station to ask for help. Neither the manager nor I had any command of the other’s language. I watched as he walked over to two cars of women filling up their gas tanks. They began talking about me, I surmised, because he kept pointing at me and saying, “oh Dios mio”. I knew then that I was in trouble.

The women left their cars to gather around me. I was so relieved to hear English, until I understood their message: “You are not safe here.” “Do not look at that truck with the smiling men. Do not look at them!!” “Bad men are all around here.” The leader said to me, “We are worried for you. Get in your car. We will take you to the highway.” I was amazed at their kindness, but they shrugged that women should always help each other. Then, we formed a caravan with one car leading me and one car following. They were not taking any chances of me getting lost again. Ahead was the entrance to the highway. They pointed and honked and waved, and made certain that I was safely on my way.

Mis ángeles hispanos. My Hispanic Angels. Thank you for taking care of this directionally-handicapped lady, otherwise, I would still be lost today.

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