Growing roots

This picture was taken earlier this week.

The last time I was at the salon was 2,857 days ago, otherwise known as March.

For the record, despite the photographic evidence to the contrary, I am not 85 years old.

I’m simply prematurely white. Not grey. Not silver. Not salt and pepper.

White. White as the driven snow, white. WINTER IS COMING, white. I’m like a brown-eyed White Walker except paler and not as thin.

My hair started turning white when I was around fourteen years old, because God didn’t think glasses, acne, braces, leftover baby pudge and the massive Psyhos nose were enough crosses to bear for a painfully shy, introverted, uncoordinated high school freshman.

Back in the day, my best friend, Traci, used to dye my hair in her kitchen and sometimes she’d throw in a perm for good measure and on those days, I’d race home afterward and jump in the shower and scrub my head raw, all while yelling to Traci WHY IS IT STILL BURNING by way of the canary yellow, rotary dial telephone whose 88-foot cord I managed to yank into the bathroom with me.

It’s almost forty years later and not much has changed. The braces and glasses are gone, thankfully. And so is the Psyhos nose, courtesy of rhinoplasty. But I’m still an introvert and I still get acne every so often because, God. The baby pudge has been replaced by menopausal bloat because again, God. And, to this day, I am known to topple over simply by standing up.

And my hair is still naturally white.

Box color hasn’t been a match for my stubborn roots for years so nowadays, my ‘do is professionally maintained by Andrew, my hairstylist. Because I like to keep my hair shorty-short and I’m Greek and can grow an entire fur coat before nightfall, I am in Andrew’s chair every three weeks. I’d go more often if I could afford it. In the ten years I have been going to Andrew, I don’t think I have ever missed an appointment. I always have at least three future appointments calendared in his book at any given moment and I schedule everything around them, including vacations, surgeries and death.

Andrew tousles my hair and asks, “What are we doing with it today?” and I respond, “Whatever you think looks best! I trust you!” Except it comes out more like, “Same color but maybe copper highlights? No, wait, caramel. Oh, and I need the bangs cut. Can you make them wispy? If not, just trim them. And I can’t stand that big boof on top. Why does it do that? Hate the boof! And can you cut it above my ears? But not too short. I don’t want a buzz cut! And I need those wing things. Not sideburns! Just wispy wings. If you can’t, then I’ll take it longer on top. Can you give me layers and get rid of my cowlick? If not, then I don’t want layers – just one length. But can you pull it straight down? Except angled. Just a little. Don’t give me minivan mom hair, please. Otherwise, do layers. You know what? Just do your thing, I trust you!” And then I have to wake Andrew up from the coma he lapsed into five minutes ago.

It’s as if Game of Thrones and When Harry Met Sally had an albino baby with a standing hair appointment every third Tuesday.

A few years ago, I thought I’d try letting the white grow out to save myself from eventually having to sell a kidney to finance my color. Andrew and I agreed to gradually dye my hair lighter each visit so that the white would be less noticeable over time. I lasted three appointments before I couldn’t stand it any longer and had a mini-mental breakdown in Andrew’s chair and walked out two hours later with my regular cut, color, highlights and zero regrets, leaving Andrew’s eye roll in my wake.

But coronavirus is a game-changer. I’m almost two months into growing a snowdrift on my head and we’re *still* in quarantine in New York with no end in sight and only God and Governor Cuomo know when salons will re-open and Cuomo isn’t taking my calls and it’s not like I have a lot of confidence in God, seeing as how he is responsible for the whole white hair/glasses/acne/braces/Psyhos nose/bloating pudge debacle to begin with.

And when New York does re-open, who knows how many will venture out, what with murder hornets staring at Covid-19 and being all HOLD MY BEER.

So, I think I might grow out the white again. Between the plague and the homicidal insects, when will I ever get another chance without having to worry about what it looks like in the interim?

And, emerging from months of quarantine with a head full of shocking white hair? The expressions on my neighbors’ faces alone might be worth it.

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