Well, maybe. I haven’t seen anyone with pink hair in our small town, passing through or otherwise. But I’m contemplating it. Action may be necessary after what happened the other day.
I was out on the town engaging in a not-so-fascinating adventure: shopping for canning jar lids. I heard someone call out behind me from a distance. It was a stranger’s voice.
Using the logic bestowed on most members of our species, I assumed she was hailing some other person in the store so I ignored her. A moment later that stranger zoomed up behind me and said,
“Oh, I thought you were my mom.”
I’m a warm and motherly person, true. But I was not that stranger’s mother. Worse, she was in my approximate age group. Which means her own mother either looks like someone who gave birth as a kindergartener OR I look really old. (Particularly from behind.)
The stranger muttered something like, “Sorry, she has blonde hair too.”
Raised to be polite at all costs, I simply smiled at her (fist shake at Nice Girl upbringing). I’m not sure what an appropriate response might have been. Snort-enhanced laughter perhaps.
Wait, it gets worse.
I saw her join a woman one aisle over. I witnessed her call this woman “Mom.” Her mother was clearly 15 to 20 years old than I. And wearing tan stretch pants. With tennis shoes. And a quilted handbag.
Alas, I see I’ve fallen right into the basement of People Who Make Superficial Comments despite my regular attempts to be my Better Self.
I’m not mocking my elders, heck, I’m looking forward to being a rowdy old lady myself (which is how I’ll finally outgrow that Nice Girl upbringing). And I’m in no position to judge this woman’s appearance, especially after outing myself as a beauty flunky. As I tell my kids, everyone has a lovely gleaming soul. (Boy do they ever like to hit me back with that one when I get snarky.) But I’m finding the chronological escalator a bit too relentless.
When I was younger I took a constantly functional body and seemingly unlimited time ahead for granted. Now various parts creak and I realize I may not be able to fit all my enthusiasm into an ordinary lifespan. Sometimes I walk by the library windows, noticing a stumpy little woman in the reflection. Who is that woman, I wonder? Why is she carrying my purse? It takes a moment to sink in. That’s me. I may feel like a fourteen-year-old sneaking out of the house in a halter top, but instead I’m some lady wearing a scarf.
I was raised to use everything up. To smack the bottle till it was empty, then add a little water and shake it to get out the last lingering drops. I fully intend to do that with my life too. I’ll be using up every single bit. But if I get any more reminders about being old before my time, you may see me with pink hair. Or at least pink streaks. My quietly rebellious fourteen-year-old self would be proud. And the rowdy old lady I hope to become will understand.