••• Friday, May 11, 2007

The Mind is a Terrible Wonderful Thing 

I have a cousin, several years my elder, who was twice widowed by the time she was 30. Both deaths were accidents and occurred on the job. Husband number one drowned while working on a bridge and number two was electrocuted.

I was still in college when the second tragedy struck. At the risk of sounding cold-hearted, I was largely unaffected by these family tragedies, in that my cousin and I were not close. In fact, I think the longest conversation we ever had was at Uncle P00t’s pre-mortum funeral, a couple years back, ::Uncle P is still kicking, btw:: when I said to her “I hear you’re a soshul werker.” And she said “Yep.” And I said “Me too”. And she said “That’s great!” and then there was an awkward silence and averted eye contact and then I walked away.


Like most of the kin on that side of the family, Cousin Annabelle has blackish-brown hair, and like many girls in the 70's, she wore it long and straight. The day after her second husband died, she went to the beauty salon and had her long, straight blackish-brown hair cut short, permed into tiny curls and dyed platinum. Just in time for the first night's viewing at the funeral home.

When I find myself rolling around in fields of woe and self-pity, I sometimes think of Cousin Annabelle, showing up at the funeral home in her freshly-cropped, frizzy, platinum ‘do; her scalp still burning from the process.

And then I think of her friends and family members, struggling to come up with the exactly right thing to say to this beautiful young bride, with the mind-boggling bad luck. I imagine these people rehearsing aloud, their selected lines of condolence, on the ride to the funeral home. And I can’t help but smile, when I picture them stricken speechless, at the sight of her.

I don’t know exactly why Annabelle did what she did. But I do know that shock and grief are notorious logic benders. I also know that the brain, in its most primitive mode, is a wickedly genius survivalist.

Maybe she was psychotic with grief, when she made the hair appointment.

Or maybe she was crazy like a fox.

Maybe she refused to take this battery of hell, lying down. Or at least lying down as a brunette.

Maybe she thought blondes have less pain.

Maybe she wasn’t ready to share her despair.

Maybe she wanted people to wonder about her hair, instead of the horror.

Or maybe she just wanted people to look at her hair. Period.

Because how could the first thing out of anybody’s mouth be anything but: “Your hair...you've changed your hair.”

Wherein She Tried Her Hand as a Quick Change Artist
An hour before we left for the cardiologist appointment last Monday, I was scared. While a part of me knew we were riding a wave of internet-induced, psychological hysteria, another part of me that knew full well that bad shit happens as easily as the good. And the bad shit is just a phone call away. Or an appointment away. Or a police-officer-ringing-the-doorbell-at-2-a.m. away.

In the event it would be a long wait for any good/bad news at the doctor's office, I packed up a knitting package for butt-ugly Ariann sleeve #1. Then, about 15 minutes before we were supposed to leave, in a flurry of non-knitting-related panic, I determined that the nearly done sleeve was too ugly to live, and ripped it back to within two inches of its life. And instead of worrying about what could lie ahead, I spent the ride to the appointment picking up live, lacy stitches on the freshly ripped sleeve.

I have mentioned this before, that I hadn't been happy with that sleeve for a long time. Therefore, from a logical standpoint, the decision to rip was a sound one, if not a tad impulsive. Subconsciously, I was probably thinking that if later in the day, some cardiologist hands me my heart on a platter, I will not receive this platter with a less than perfect piece of knittery in my lap.
Doctor: I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news….”

Me: I just ripped this sleeve out this morning. Look how far I’ve gotten already. I’m still having problems with that SSK stitch, though. Does this look wonky to you?
As you now know, the news on my husband was good.

Unfortunately, not so much for the second first sleeve.

It looks like it has a knit-in elbow bend. Maybe I'm a genius after all.
But ya know, bad knitting is kind of like a bad hair cut.
You can always grow it back.

Thursday's Sky. Friday's Eye

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Well, since haloscan seems to be horking up, I'll leave a comment here instead...

Hmm, what is it with that Ariann sleeve?! Cool sky at least.
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