English As A Second Language

Growing older is no excuse for not keeping on top of things!  No, this is not a reference to the sexual practices of septuagenarians, but to being in tune with what is happening today!  Specifically, I am referring to words, vernacular, vocabulary.

For instance, do you think you know what the word “cloud” refers to?  Well, you’re wrong!  It used to mean only one thing.  Now it means quite another.  This formerly simple concept has been kidnapped by the technology industry to describe a data storage method.

And this is just one small example.  Language is changing by the minute.  So to keep up with what’s au courant, I’ve put together a 10-item quiz to test your TQ (Trending Quotient).  If you don’t want to feel like a dinosaur, take this exam before your next conversation with a millennial.  Don’t know who a millennial is? Then that might be a good place to start.

head_scratchMillenials

a)      Slimy insects with lots of feet
b)      Thousand-year anniversary celebrations
c)      People who makes hats
d)      Some of the above

Pixel

a)      A Jewish pixie
b)      What your opponent might do in a Scrabble game
c)      Misspelling of a cucumber marinated in brine
d)      None of the above

Giga

a)      A movie starring Maurice Chevalier
b)      A dance they do in Ireland
c)      A steel-crushing monster from a Japanese sci-fi movie
d)      All of the above

Wthiwwy

a)      A villain from a Superman movie
b)      A town in Wales
c)      The Da Vinci code
d)      You must be kidding!

Hash tag

a)      The price label on a package of chop meat
b)      The icon formerly known as Pound
c)      The cost of a smoke in Colorado
d)      I’d like to phone a friend

App

a)      A half-eaten apple
b)      The by-product of urination
c)      A new fruit created by crossing an apple, a pear, and a plum
d)      A and B, or maybe not

lol

a)      Little old lady
b)      Lots of love
c)      Two parallel lines with a circle in the middle
d)      I ‘ll take “Movie Stars” for $1,000, Alex

Cra Cra

a)      A toddler requesting a Crayola
b)      Twin shell fish
c)      Two arcs spelled backwards
d)      I don’t have time for this nonsense!

BTW

a)      A new subway line in New York City
b)      A bacon and tomato sandwich on white
c)      Scrabble letters worth a total of eight points
d)      I’d like to buy a vowel

Rad

a)      A small radio
b)      An insect spray that has been recalled due to a missing letter
c)      A conservative group of women who got turned around
d)      I think I failed this quiz!

Bonus Question:

Phishing

a)      Phake way of spelling “fishing”
b)      Attempting to catch a phluke
c)      Casting your line off a pherry boat
d)      Who gives a ph_ _ _!

Interpreting Your Score:

0–4      Best to stay inside your gated community
5-7       OK to talk to people age 50 and over
8-10     You have been approved to text your grandchildren

(If I still have your attention, here are the real answers.  1) Millenials: also known as Generation Y.  Demographic cohort born between the early 1980s to early 2000s.  2) Pixel: smallest controllable element of a picture represented on a screen;  3) Giga: a unit prefix in the metric system denoting a factor of a billion; 4) wthiwwy: texting abbreviation meaning what the hell is wrong with you; 5) hash tag: # symbol used on Twitter to link tweets about a topic; 6) App: short for application, or computer program; 7) lol: texting abbreviation for “Laugh out loud:” 8) cra cra: very crazy!; 9)btw: yet another texting abbreviation for “by the way;” 10) rad: another way of saying “far out” or very cool.  Bonus Question) Phishing: attempt to acquire sensitive information through an internet scam.)

Posted in Aging, Communication, Language, Technology | 1 Comment

Errands “R” Us

Story ripped from the headlines:  “Woman Found Safe in her Vehicle After Failing To Return Home for 48 Hours.  Claims She Was Just Running Errands.

When interviewed, Mrs. X said she didn’t know what all the fuss was about.  ‘This was just my normal schedule, except my to-do list did not go as smoothly as planned, is all.”

Does my fictitious lady sound familiar? Someone you know? You?  Definitely me.  Especially on those days when I find myself getting in and out of my car so frequently that it feels like interval training.

Let’s face it.  Equality between the sexes stops short when it comes to errands.  It is part of the unwritten contract between men and women that females still bear the primary responsibility for never running out of toilet paper.  Males will assist when called upon, but generally consider it a favor, as opposed to a part of their job description.

That’s okay.  Men have equally irksome things to contend with, like locating items of food in the refrigerator.  (You’re familiar with that plaintiff cry, “Honey, where’s the……….?)

To-DO-ListErrands aren’t so bad.  One or two, maybe.  But then there are the days when the list seems to reproduce faster than you can scribble a check mark.  And you fear that you will never see your home again.

One such day loomed before me very recently.   But I decided I would not suffer the same fate as our female alter ego, Mrs. X.   I would sit down and strategize.  I would develop a plan of action that would outsmart those that would ruin my entire afternoon.  With the focus of a cartographer, I would map out a route that would minimize time spent and maximize efficiency.

If I first dropped the dog off at the groomer, then drove to the car wash, I would be able to hit the post office and the pharmacy without backtracking more than two blocks.  I could then go to the dry cleaners to fetch the white shirt my husband needed for the party we were to attend that evening.

Next, I would return the book to the library, bring the vacuum cleaner to the repair shop, buy some pet food, and stop at the stationer, all in a nice, straight line.

Executing only one right turn, I would be able to return the sweater that I bought on an impulse  (why did I think I looked good in puce?), fill the car with gas, circle around to the supermarket, load the groceries, fetch the dog from the groomer, return to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription, and finally head back.

With a little luck, and not too many red lights, I should be home in an hour and forty-five minutes.   Possibly a new world’s record for errand-running!

Armed with my map, and filled with confidence, I headed out, dog in tow.

Items No. 1, 2, 3, and 4 went without a hitch.  Almost.  I was somewhat thwarted at the post office by the woman ahead of me who was having some difficulty choosing the perfect postage stamp.  It was a toss-up between the seasonal “spring flowers” or the traditional, patriotic American flag.  While I commiserated with her dilemma, I was in danger of being thrown off schedule.  I tried to ignore her murderous expression as I encouraged her to get on with it.

But the real snafu occurred when I entered the dry cleaners.  I was brandishing my pink ticket and the precise amount of money, anticipating a quick pick-up, only to be told that the shirt was not yet ready.  Could I please come back in an hour?

What? How was this possible? This was a disaster.  This extra hour could disqualify me from the Guinness Book of Records.

A quick decision was in order.  Do I abandon the shirt and convince my husband that he looks much better in light blue? Or do I add another stop to my list and buy him a new white shirt for the occasion? That might be more efficient than returning to the cleaner’s.  But what if they didn’t have his size and the trip to the men’s shop was simply a waste of time?   It was a risk I would have to take.

I returned to my car and reconsidered my destinations.  The GPS in my brain was calling out for route recalculation.  There was still the library, vacuum cleaner, pet store, stationer, sweater, gas station, supermarket, groomer, and drug store.

I decided the shirt store could best be managed after I returned the sweater.  This would require doubling back only half-a-mile, crossing the railroad tracks twice, hopefully missing the freight train each time, and resuming the rest of the journey heading northwest.  Go!

(In retrospect, I suppose I could have called my husband and told him to pick up his own damn shirt, but quite frankly, at the time, it never even occurred to me.  Which tells me just how programmed I am for errand-running.  Scary!)

Devoid of library book, vacuum cleaner, and sweater, and armed with new white shirt, pet food, medication, a full tank of gas, and groceries, I finally arrived home, breathless.  Only fifty minutes off schedule.  Not exactly a world record.  Yet.  I would do better next time.

I was greeted by “Hi.   What took you so long? I thought you had left home.  (chuckle, chuckle.)  I looked around for a heavy object.  He was saved by his offer to help me unload the groceries from the car.

I was just about to store the last can of tuna, feeling very happy to be home, when a simple question sent me into a tailspin.

“By the way, honey, have you seen the dog?”

Posted in Errands | 5 Comments

Uncool Is The New Cool

I was at a gathering the other day when I overheard a remark that caused me to commit an impulsive act.  I shot out of my chair, ran over to a perfect stranger, and delivered a huge bear hug. 

This very large man, who could have been Tony Soprano’s younger brother, was engaged in a conversation about popular music.  His female companion, pointing a finger, had said in a mocking tone, “Don’t ask his opinion.  He likes Barry Manilow.”

“You like Barry Manilow?” I repeated as I hugged him.  “I love Barry Manilow.  I have always loved Barry Manilow.”

There! It was out in the open.  Finally, after all this time.  The relief was enormous, and completely overshadowed the thirty-five years of derision, and the fact that we were now probably regarded as the two least-cool people in the room.  Did I care?

Barry_Manilow_24115615Back in the seventies and eighties, rock ruled.  You were supposed to like the Foo Fighters and Guns and Roses.  If you were young, and a Barry Manilow fan, you kept it to yourself.  That is, if you wanted to appear cool.  Confessing that you liked his sincere ballads instead of angry lyrics condemned you to the purgatory of the terminally un-hip.

Among the uber-cool, Barry was regarded as a Las Vegas performer, a creator of songs to be played on elevators, and someone who sang to your mother.  Does it get any worse than that?

But come on, people.  It’s time to own up.  How many of you, like me, sang along to “Mandy” at the top of your lungs, in the privacy of your car?  Or “Copa Cabana” in your shower?

And as long as we’re on the subject, let me step out of the closet completely and confess to also liking ABBA (I dare you to resist dancing), The Carpenters (I chose one of theirs as my wedding song), and Kenny Rogers (“Lucille” was such a bitch!).

So who determines what’s cool? Who’s the decider? Not just in music, but in all things?

Is it the “Meh” list in the New York Times Sunday Magazine? Personally, I don’t think that’s cool at all.  I think the list itself is the epitome of “Meh.”  And it certainly isn’t cool that the print’s so small!  (For those of you not acquainted with “Meh,” it’s a lot like “Feh.”)

Looking back over the years, you realize that what’s cool is nothing more than a fad.  Whether it was poodle skirts, James Dean, Mustang convertibles, or discos, every decade had its own coolness standards.

A membership in the Playboy Club was once considered cool. (How lame was that?)  Being a Playboy bunny? I’m not sure that was ever cool. (Well, maybe.)

Gold chains on men were cool.  So was Jennifer Aniston’s hair cut.  How about wearing sunglasses indoors?   Remember man-bags?

The list goes on.  Icons of hip are forever changing.

I wonder, do we finally outgrow the need to be cool, or, as we age, does coolness switch gears from conformity to being your own person? I sincerely hope so, because I looked awful in a poodle skirt.

Besides, being cool is exhausting.   I’m happy to skip right over all the information about what’s “trending.”    Last year’s hand bag will do just fine, and I’ll wait until the hot new restaurant cools down before making my scene.   That is, if it lasts long enough.

I’m just happy that I know how to program the GPS in my car, and that I can text my grandkids.  I think that’s pretty cool!

And as for Barry Manilow? I recently read somewhere that he was #1 on a list of “10 Pop Artists for the Terminally Uncool,” beating out the likes of Celine Dion and Cher.  Way to go, Barry.  As the song says, “Looks like we’ve made it!”

I’m proud to be uncool with you.   I love you, Barry Manilow.

Posted in Entertainment, Fashion, Music | 2 Comments

Failure to Print

Honestly, did I really need another reminder that I was old?

I thought I paid my dues this year with a few more wrinkles, deeper frown lines, a couple of extra sun spots, and a pair of eyeglasses that I was now required to use when driving.  Oh, and the addition to my never-again list of a few more foods which now give me indigestion.

So, did I have to suffer yet another indignity of aging, in front of a complete stranger, no less?

No, I didn’t lose bladder control.  I lost my fingerprints!

Let me explain how this came to light.

My husband and I had applied for the Global Entry pass that is supposed to make air travel a little easier.  If you have this card, you can bypass the lines at security and immigration by checking yourself in or out using a special kiosk.  Whether this method is preferable to being escorted in a wheelchair remains to be seen.

In any event, since neither of us could justify needing a wheelchair just yet, we thought we would obtain these cards, and become official “ trusted travelers.”

Part of the process of qualifying for this privilege is an in-person appointment at an office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Our appointment was in Ft. Lauderdale, at a building adjacent to the airport.

(Not knowing exactly where it was, I entered the address into my car’s GPS system and set out with every confidence that we would be easily guided to our destination.  I should have known that the day would not be perfect when my GPS was flummoxed by all the construction at the airport, and had us driving around in circles for twenty minutes.  But that’s a story for another day.)

We were interviewed by a friendly, uniformed officer (I think they’re called “officers.”  Or maybe they’re called “agents.”  I’m not sure.  In any event he was friendly).  We responded to the routine questions and each of us in turn had our pictures taken.  So far, so good.

Also required was a set of fingerprints.  I went first.  Guess what? They don’t use ink pads any more.  Instead, fingerprints are recorded biometrically using computers and a scanner.  It’s simple, really.  All you have to do is place four fingers on a piece of glass and the computer reads your prints.

Reads YOUR prints, maybe, but unfortunately, not mine!

The nice gentleman tried again.  Then, once again.  But neither my left or right hand would yield a set of readable, unsmeared fingerprints.

Naturally, I became concerned.  Had I contracted some exotic disease that was slowly stripping away my identity?  But then this formerly nice man then tells me not to worry.  This frequently happens with old people.  Old people!!!

fingerprint_partsApparently, says Google, as we age, our skin loses elasticity.  (Every woman knows that already!)  The ridges that form our prints get thicker, the height between the top of the ridge and the bottom of the furrow gets narrow, so there is less prominence.

The problem was eventually solved by applying some lotion to my fingertips, which magically allowed the scanner to take its impression.  The no-longer-nice man also informed me that I might have to apply some lotion to my fingertips every time I try to use one of the Global Entry kiosks at the airport.  Otherwise, it may not be able to read my prints.

Great!  My Global Entry card that was supposed to eliminate some of the stress of travelling has just added a new anxiety.  Maybe I’ll opt for the wheelchair after all.

I also learned from Google that the FBI website has instructions for taking fingerprints of elders and others with impaired “ridges in the pattern area.”   So not only am I member of the social security set, but I’m also part of a new sub-culture of people with impaired ridges.

But having this knowledge is not very helpful.  I’m still left with the sorry news that I’m now an old person with one less distinctive feature, and wondering what comes next.  And it is not particularly comforting to know that there are others like me.

Someone or something has played an ironic prank.   Or else, why would time remove the creases from where we need them, and add new creases to where we don’t?  It saddens me that Mother Nature isn’t perfect.

Either that, or she possesses a very wicked sense of humor!

Posted in Aging, Anatomy, Travel | 6 Comments

Relaxation 101

So I just had another birthday.  How do I feel about that? Since you only stop having them after you’re dead, I guess I feel pretty good.  In fact, I’ve recently made some serious investments in the future by electing to renew my car registration for two years instead of one, and my membership in AARP for another five.  How’s that for a burst of optimism? 

But birthdays do tend to make one pause and take inventory.  Body parts, for instance.  All in all, I’m not doing too badly.   My knees still bend and I am able to navigate a staircase.  Which is handy as my bedroom is on the second floor.   My hips remain, as always, too wide, but the joints are articulating.    My back?  I’d rather not discuss it.  Let’s just say it’s no worse.  And I’m grateful that during the past year gravity has not been too unkind to those anatomical structures that tend to obey Newton’s law.

There has, however, been a slight change in my vision.  My annual visit to my eye doctor resulted, for the first time, in a prescription for distance glasses, which he suggested I use for driving.  In an attempt at myopic humor, he also remarked that I wouldn’t be able to fly an airplane without them.  I dutifully laughed, and commented that this would not have a significant impact on my life.   Nevertheless, just in case, I make sure to include them in my carry-on bag.

So really, I can’t complain.  (Well, I can.  One can always complain.)  I think I’m doing pretty well.  For my age.

There is, however, something I would like to accomplish before another year flies by.  Something that has thus far eluded me.  Something that would add significantly to my quality of life.  Or so I’m told.  I would really like to learn how to relax.

After all, isn’t this the time of my life when I’m supposed to be smelling the roses? Watching sunsets?  Taking the time to let the dough rise?  Yet I’m still telling myself that matzoh is just as good!

I envy my husband, who eases into the day by reading the entire newspaper.   I tried that once.  I think I got to Page 2 of the first section, before I was overcome with restless body syndrome.

I would like to be able to sit outside on a beautiful day and read a book without noticing a plant that needed water, a weed that should be pulled, or dog poop that I neglected to pick up.  And there I am again, a body in motion.

Perhaps I should try reading at someone else’s house, sitting by someone else’s pool.  Maybe if it was my neighbor’s plant, I could just let it be.  I doubt it.

Do you find manicures and pedicures stressful? I do.  Although I’m embarrassed by my frequently naked toe nails, I am prevented from regular trips to the nail salon due to the fact that it requires me to actually sit still for a seemingly endless period of time.  I barely manage to get through the soaking, scraping, sticking, trimming, enameling phases.  By the time I’m required to place my toes under that little dryer and sit for ten minutes more, I feel like a hyperactive child who’s just been given an extended time out.  (Perhaps I am a hyperactive child.)

Massages are definitely out of the question.  Unless I find a masseuse who is willing to follow me around the room.   Laying face down on a table with my head in a little circle for an hour or more is just not in my DNA.  In spite of the dim lights, scented candles, and music that simulates water gently flowing from rocks into a beautiful, deep pool, I’m still dancing a jitterbug in my head.  And all those water sounds do not do my bladder any favors.

I’ve already tried yoga and meditation.  I was warned by the instructor that my constant wriggling was ruining the asanas for the entire class.  Far be it from me to ruin anyone’s asana. Besides, I’m not all that crazy about yoga pants.

Visualization was a disaster.  I couldn’t stop myself from conjuring dog poop.  And when my mantra became “gotta go,” I knew that I was licked.

relaxing-pictures-hammockI realize that I’m in serious need of reprogramming.  Some type of behavior modification that will allow me to more fully enjoy the moment. So here’s my plan.

I’m going outside with a kitchen timer.  I will set it for fifteen minutes and force myself to sit in a lounge chair until the timer dings.  I will have a magazine and a glass of iced tea.  I will read the article about 73 ways to look great after 60.  And no quitting after 59.  All 73!   I can do this.  I have discipline.  Self-control.  And I did not see that plastic bottle next to the tree that belongs in the recycle bin.

I will gradually increase my sitting time every day.    I will abandon magazines and read a book.  I will have a second glass of iced tea.  I will not leave my chair to answer the phone or fold the laundry.   I will sit still!

Why didn’t anyone tell me that relaxing was such hard work?

Posted in Aging, Relaxation | 1 Comment

Domestic Tyranny

I’m sitting here typing and trying to be very quiet.  I’m about to write terrible things about my computer and I don’t want it to know.  I realize I sound more than a touch crazy, but I’m convinced that if I’m not circumspect, and the central processing unit gets wind of what I’m doing, a temper tantrum will ensue,  and I will have to endure another major breakdown, like I did last Saturday.

The fact that the malfunction occurred on a weekend, when one is less likely to obtain technical assistance, just goes to demonstrate its capacity for malice.   And all this time it was pretending to be my friend.

It was a slow build-up of trust over the years.  I admit at first I was skeptical, even a little afraid.  Once you reach a certain decade, you don’t necessarily welcome innovation into your life.  Especially innovation that comes with a snakes’ nest of electrical wires.    The way you presently get things done is just fine, thank you very much.  ( I suppose I’d have had the same response to the electric typewriter if I’d been this age back then.)

But gradually, you let yourself become convinced that e-mails were not created by the devil, and there really is a more efficient way to type and save a document.

That’s how it begins, this insidious process.  Little by little you find yourself handing your life over to your computer.  You no longer engage in hand-written correspondence.  Your beloved set of Encyclopedia Britannicas is replaced by Google.  (I wonder what happened to all those salesmen?)   You make it the trustee of your music library and let it serenade you with your favorite songs.

It lures you into allowing it become the keeper of your family photos.  Irreplaceable ancestral pictures are now imprinted on its hard drive.  Then it gently requests permission to store the contact information of everyone you have ever known in your life, convincing you that your address book is fast becoming a Smithsonian relic.

You start to relax around your computer.  You feel you have developed a rapport.   You have by this time, handed over your appointment calendar, your favorite recipes, your buying habits, and reading preferences.

You are now completely primed for the next big step.  It wants your financial information.   Who can resist the temptation of the eternally accurate bank reconciliation and the draw of on-line bill payment?

Do you see what’s happening here? How you have been lulled into deeding your life to this machine for the promise of accuracy, convenience, and more space on your book shelves?

The computer now owns you! It has become your brain.  The servant has become the master,   like life imitating a British melodrama.  It’s “Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey Meets Hal!”  (Remember Hal, the tyrannical computer from “2001: A Space Odyssey?”  How prophetic!)

computerDo I sound slightly hysterical? More than slightly hysterical? Well, that’s what it was like on Saturday morning when I complacently turned on my computer, rightly expecting that it would respond in the helpful manner to which I had become accustomed, only to find myself confronted with nothing!  Well, not nothing exactly.  There was enough something to let me know that it wasn’t going to operate.  The “something” is also known as the “error message.”

Error messages alone are enough to cause panic in a Zen master.  They are indecipherable by the common man, shrouded in unknown references and secret code numbers.  It’s the computer acting like it is trying to be helpful, when actually, it’s laughing.

My printer, I discovered, was also part of this conspiracy.  Overnight, the two had obviously formed a secret pact for the sole purpose of my derailment.    The document I had written the day before, which was already late for a deadline, could neither be e-mailed nor printed.  And what about everything else that I had entrusted to this terrorist?

So, here I was, woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  Me, a highly competent person trained to handle all types of domestic crises.  But this was way more than a broken toaster.  The only other time I had come close to this degree of casualty was when my coffee maker went on the fritz at six-thirty in the morning.

After a series of hysterical phone calls to my son, the IT guy, and my internet provider, who, thank goodness did not keep me on hold for an hour,  it was determined that the hard drive needed to be reconfigured.  I quickly recognized that my knowledge of fixing a computer malfunction, which is limited to the unplugging and replugging of a power cord, was insufficient for a catastrophe of this magnitude.

My desk top was holding me hostage, demanding a new name and the option to go wireless.  I guess I should be grateful that it wasn’t also asking for a helicopter and two million dollars.

I was in desperate need of a hostage negotiator.  Although it was the weekend I took a chance and called my local tech person.   Sensing I was suicidal, he was kind enough to give me a Sunday appointment.   For his weekend rate, of course.  At this point, even the two million dollars was not out of the question.

I watched as my computer succumbed to his expertise, like an animal to a trainer, knowing it has been bettered.  In short order, I heard the welcome sound of my printer forced into submission.  Life, as I had come to know it, had been restored, and I was finally able to exhale.

Since the Saturday episode, my computer and I have managed to reestablish a working relationship.  I even bought it a brand new router, hoping to soothe the beast within.  I have to say that I’m in awe of the degree of dependency we have bestowed on these little monsters. And how, as I next push the “Print” key, I’m haunted by the voice of Hal stating:  “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

Posted in Relationships, Technical Support, Technology | 3 Comments

The Color Purple?

If decisions I’ve made in my life were sorted into folders, this most recent choice would definitely be filed away under the heading “What Was I Thinking?”  It certainly would not be the only item in that file, just the latest.  In fact, if I reflect on many of the decisions I’ve made in the past, that would be one chubby file folder! 

This most recent questionable decision had its origins in what is for me a religious activity.  That is, getting a haircut.   Those of you who know me, or who have read my blog about my tumultuous relationship with my crowning glory, know that I have a very short do.  I get it cut once a month, without fail, and barely make it into the fourth week, when I swear I start to hear my hair growing.

In any event, on this particular day, which was a little shy of New Year’s Eve,   I remarked to the stylist how, although it is trouble-free, I sometimes become bored with my look.  There is not much you can do with hair that is less than a quarter-inch long.  You can’t curl it.  Not that I would want to.  A pony tail is out of the question.  And hair ornaments don’t stand a chance.

“Have you ever considered applying a glaze?” she asked.

A glaze? I had no idea what that was.  The word itself evoked associations with Dunkin’ Donuts, or Benjamin Moore.  But nothing to do with hair.

As a graduate of the school of “there are no stupid questions,” I risked asking “What’s that?”

She went on to explain that a glaze is a temporary color, not as intense as a dye or a bleach, and that , in time, would wash out.

Okay, then.  This was starting to sound interesting.  Maybe this was what I needed to perk up my image.  “Bring it on!” I boldly declared.

Without missing a beat, she presented me with a color card.  “Which one would you like,” she innocently asked.

I gasped as I look down at my choices.  Blue, purple, pink, green.  Was I choosing a hair color or an upholstery fabric?

Noting my confusion, bordering on horror, she offered “I think you’d look very good in blue.  It would match your eyes.”  How could I explain that nowhere in my wildest dreams had I ever considered color-coordinating my hair with my eyes!  So maybe I should go with purple?

Regaining my sanity, I told myself that it wasn’t too late to back out.  Admitting that I had changed my mind was still an option.  The reality was that purple hair did not go all that well with my life style.

“But where is your sense of fun?” said the devil sitting on my left shoulder.  “Don’t be an old fart.  After all, it’s almost New Year’s Eve.  Do something daring!”

Before I knew it, the words were out of my mouth.  “Okay, let’s go f or it!”

Fifteen minutes later, for that’s all it took to transform me into something akin to geriatric punk, I was receiving the admiring looks and comments from the other hair dressers.  “It’s great,” one of them said, while another one gushed “It looks so-o-o-o-o good on you!”

At this point, my stylist spun my chair 180 degrees so I was finally facing the mirror.  OMG!  My hair really was purple.  Not solid purple, but definitely purple.  Please, someone shoot me right now!

Too bad it wasn’t Halloween when my excuse could be that I was appearing as a giant eggplant.  Or, it’s almost Purim and I’ve always wanted to dress up as a prune hamantasch.

purpleMy first instinct was to reach for the baseball cap I had stowed in my hand bag for just this purpose.  Or, I could ask her to shave my head.  Or I could spend the next thirty days locked in my shower with a bottle of cheap shampoo that did not promise to keep your chemically altered hair color from fading.

Or, maybe I would quit the golf club and go to work in a trendy art gallery.   Perhaps even consider adding body piercings and a tattoo to complete the look.

But I did none of these things.   I simply went about my business, with my uncovered head on full display, bearing the occasional glances of strangers as the price I had to pay for my indiscretion.   Not quite as shameful as the Scarlet Letter, but close.

I have to say my husband was kind.  My friends were kind.  “It’s definitely purple,” was all they said.  No one questioned my testamentary capacity.  At least not to my face.

I’m now a little more than two weeks into my little technicolor adventure.  The purple has faded somewhat, but not completely.  In a certain light, it’s not very noticeable.  But a bright, sunny Florida day still remains highly illuminating.

Would I do it again?  Probably not.  But it hasn’t been all bad.  I have had some fun with it.  And I’ve even enjoyed the challenge of coordinating my clothing and make-up to accompany a shade that looks like it belongs in a box of Crayolas.

So, to the people who ask why I did it in the first place, I can only respond with the punch line of an old joke, the contents of which I no longer remember:

It was New Year’s Eve, and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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