Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tearing my hair out

I've just returned to the car from the bookstore, from a reading by an old friend (and I mean old!). It was a nice event as signings go, the old man sitting up there, crotchety but proud, the audience populated with gray-haired friends from his retirement home. I shopped for a while afterward, only to be surprised when I left to find the old author and his friends still waiting, leaning shakily on their walkers and canes at the curb in the damp September air. They had to have been standing out there for over half an hour. Now, as I sit in my car ready to drive over to meet my son for lunch, I remember I never double-checked the time of my hair appointment--is it 1:30 or 2:30?

I pick up my cell to call the salon, and as I'm dialing, it rings. It's my son, wanting to postpone our lunch until one. I promise to get back to him as soon as I confirm the time of my hair appointment. As we hang up, the car feels claustrophobic, overly warm with the car windows all shut tight, so I hunt for the key to open the sunroof. It has to be here somewhere, since I just opened the car with it a second ago. I rummage through my purse and pockets and under my butt and the books I've just purchased that I set on the seat next to me and in the cracks between the seats and on the floor under the seats. No keys. In exasperation, I get out of the car.

As I suck in the fresh air and recheck my pockets, I see a van from my author friend's retirement home drive by in the wrong direction, empty of passengers, the driver on the phone. I race after it down the parking lot, flailing my arms to get the driver's attention. The van turns right and out of reach, circling around I hope. Discouraged and out of breath, I trudge back, digging around in my coat pocket once more, discovering my car key was there all along.

I feel a stab of pain in my heel as I climb back in the car, which reminds me I've just learned I have plantar fasciitis, for which I'm supposed to fill a prescription, but I'm not sure which Costco pharmacy the doctor's office sent it to--another call I have to make. My heel throbs dully. I turn the key in the ignition, open the sunroof and windows, and the chill September air pours around me.

Before I can relocate my cellphone it rings, vibrating and dancing in the tray under the emergency brake. I answer: it's my son, wondering if we're on for one o'clock or not. I tell him I still have to call the hair salon. The retirement home van crosses in front of my vision, full of gray-haired passengers. We hang up. Now my cellphone battery is dangerously low. At this point, why bother with the hair cut at all? Maybe instead, I should just tear my hair out.

It starts to rain hard, raindrops pelting my head through the sunroof ...

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