My hair is so crazy.
I woke up this morning and glanced in the mirror and it looked like I had been doing one of those stand-on-your-head breakdance spins all night long. Hair going this way and that way and curling into my lips, shoving itself inside my ears, splaying skyward, as if it had been caught stealing from the pantry late one night, spotlight shining, and now it just wants to run in all different directions.
My hair is so crazy. I didn’t even bother to brush it this morning. I just headed to work like this, 95 percent of me sealed up tight in a nice suit, but this hair, like some kind of punk rocker.
And as I arrive to work, park my Geo, climb out with my briefcase -- my glass office building glistening in the morning sun, lifeless -- I’m providing excuses for my hair, thinking to myself, I’m just sick of the whole brushing thing, you know? I mean, does it ever stop? Every morning, brush brush brush. Every evening, brush brush brush. Gel it, spray it, it still goes haywire. So screw it, I’m not brushing it anymore.
My fellow co-workers, stumbling in to work with me, are starting to stare. This is not the Me they know.
“Hello, hello, good morning, good morning,” the uniformed security guard says to the workers as they pass his station. He sees me, and my hair. “Good mor-- well, looks like it’s Crazy Hair Day.”
I nod and smile. I get on the elevator. It’s crowded with people sporting perfectly coifed ‘dos. One balding guy is looking at me and my hair out of the corner of his eye.
“What does he mean, crazy?” my hair says to me. No one else can hear him.
“He means crazy,” I say privately. “You saw yourself in the mirror. You’re positively crazy today.”
“I do feel sort of liberated, now that you mention it,” my hair says.
I get off the elevator at my floor, walk through the rows of pale cubicles to my own.
Patrick -- my work buddy, Mr. Prim and Proper, even when he’s sucking on a chicken wing and drinking beer suds -- is standing by my cubicle, holding a cup of coffee. He’s looking sleek of skull.
He has a blonde flat top, gelled.
“Dude,” he says as I approach. He’s so amazed I think he’s going to start laughing out loud. “Your hair is wacked.”
“You are right about that, sir,” I say. “It is more wacked than you know.”
“Why does he say I’m wacked?” my hair says, as Patrick aims a few hair cutdowns in my direction.
“Because you are wacked,” I say privately, while pretending to listen to Patrick. “You are a complete mess. You are so messy.”
I put down my briefcase, turn on my computer. I nod at Patrick’s latest joke.
“But I don’t feel wacked,” my hair says. “I feel good, actually. I feel free, like I’ve just been in a convertible.”
“Trust me, you are crazy, wacked and free,” I say.
Cynthia comes up to my cubicle, wearing her precise red dress and heels, auburn hair tied neatly in a bun.
“I’ve always liked her,” my hair says, “if she would just loosen up a bit.”
“What’s with the Sid Vicious hair?” she says, red lipstick flashing. “It’s all crazy.”
“Dude, here, is turning into a punk rocker,” Patrick explains. “Aren’t you, dude?”
“That’s right, dude,” I say.
“Cool, dude,” Cynthia says, smiling a little. “Let me know if you need a tambourine player.”
She walks off.
“I think she wants me,” Patrick whispers.
In the morning meeting, my boss -- 40, with sane hair -- is rambling on about something or other. I’m drawing pictures of cavemen and cavewomen on my pad of paper.
My hair is talking about moving to Alaska.
“I hear it’s nice there,” my hair says. “It’s wild and free.”
“Hair,” I say privately, teasing, “you are so crazy. Get a grip. You can’t move to Alaska.”
“No,” my hair says, “I can move to Alaska. You’re the one that’s holding me up. You’re so not crazy.”
“Wait a minute,” I say privately. “I’m the one that messed you up in the first place.”
“So,” my hair says. “Move with me to Alaska.”
“OK,” my boss says, “does anyone have anything else?” He scans the faces lining the conference table, stops at mine, checks out my crazy hair.
“He’s checking me out,” my hair says.
“Just sit still,” I say privately.
“Yeah, I have something,” Patrick says.
He’s sitting down at the other end of the table, next to Cynthia, tapping his pencil. He looks a bit agitated.
“I’d like to know,” Patrick continues, “why I didn’t receive the memo.”
“What memo?” the boss says.
“The one that told us it’s Crazy Hair Day,” he says.
Laughter bursts in my direction, from all angles. I’m not even embarrassed. I just look at Cynthia and her tight bun and smile. She’s giggling quietly.
“Sure, go ahead and laugh,” my hair says. “You all have lame hair.”
The morning passes pretty quickly, what with all the people coming by my cubicle to check out my hair. My hair basks in the attention. He loves himself.
“Mess me up again,” he says, and I do.
Soon, it’s lunch. I leave five minutes before I know Patrick will arrive. I hit the cafeteria and its stifled workers who wear hair nets. I take my tray out to the company courtyard. I have my choice of benches, so I choose one near the fountain, in the sun.
“Oh, this is so nice,” my hair says. “Oh, that sun is nice. You know how to treat hair. You love having crazy hair. Admit it.”
“Yes,” I say privately. “I can’t understand why I never had it before.”
“It’s a giant release, isn’t it?”
“Yes. It was as if all my insecurities were tied directly to you, my hair, and when I left you messy, they all just flew away.”
“Gosh,” my hair says, “I feel light of shoulder.”
That’s when Cynthia comes up in her red dress, tray in hand.
“Got room for one more?” she says.
I scoot over on the bench. “Please,” I say.
We briefly chit-chat about work matters. Then she cuts to the chase.
“So, what made you decide to do the crazy hair thing?” Cynthia says.
“Tell her. Tell her I’m not crazy. Tell her the rest of the world is crazy,” my hair says.
“I dunno,” I say. “I just don’t -- I just can’t -- make myself brush my hair anymore.”
“Yeah,” she says, red lipstick circling the top of her bottled water. “I know what you mean. I get so sick of dealing with mine. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta be a little crazy, I guess.”
“Oh, dude,” my hair says, “she wants you. She needs you. Say something.”
“Shh!” I say privately.
Cynthia’s auburn bun is really starting to get to me. I stare at it, until she feels self-conscious. She touches it.
“Do I have something in my hair?” she says.
I shake my head.
She seems to realize why I’m staring.
“Oh no, I couldn’t,” she says. “My hair is really crazy.”
I start nodding.
“Yes, you can,” I say. “Go ahead. Take it down. Let it fly.”
“God, she has gorgeous hair,” my hair says. “Please take it down. Please, for the love of God, let me see that hair get naked and free.”
She reaches back to her bun again, considers, pauses, then takes out a bobby pin, another, another. She must have 500 bobby pins in there, and as she takes each one out, a thin, shiny stream of hair falls down, so gorgeous, so untamed, so free.
“Oh, God, oh God,” my hair says.
She’s just about to let the whole thing come tumbling down her shoulders when we all realize Patrick is standing in front of us, tray in hand.
“Dude,” he says, “everyone is talking about your wacked hair.”
I look at him, not really knowing what to say.
“And why didn’t you wait up for me?” he adds.
I look back at Cynthia.
She’s looking down, slightly embarrassed, pushing the fallen auburn strands behind her ears. She looks at her watch.
“Whoops,” she says. “I forgot. I’ve got a conference call. Patrick, you can have my seat.”
She glances at me, smiles, hurries away.
Patrick sits next to me, takes a mouthful of food.
“Dude, you’re so not getting in her pants,” Patrick says. He looks out over the courtyard, the fountain, our office building towering above us. His gelled blonde flat top gleams in the sun.
“Alaska,” my hair says.
My hair is so crazy.
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