I’m in Salt Lake City today, attending the last day of the LDStorymakers’ Conference, and enjoying every minute of it. Tonight is the Whitney Banquet where the award-winners will be announced. “Oh, Say Can You See?” is a finalist in the Historical Fiction category, so this year has had an extra bit of fun attached.
I began this visit with family, the same delicious way it will end. My two married sons noticed the changes I had incurred since they last saw me—beauty adjustments I had submitted to in the last week actually, and one thing led to another until a rip-roaring bit of advice from my five-year-old granddaughter sent me racing to a salon for some needed care. Allow me to set things up.
I confess to a certain level of vanity. I do not to go out in public without make-up, I try to avoid obvious color or pattern clashes, and a good hair day is the deal-breaker between being seen in public and hunkering down behind the drapes.
Public functions like weddings, book signings and writing conferences raise the appearance ante, and I respond with the necessary panic to “pull things together.” First on the list was my dowdy hair, since my roots were again overtaking the older, chemically-treated strands. Remembering I had a bottle of something under the sink, I decided to delay a trip to the salon while shaving a few dollars off the family budget by dyeing my hair at home. Things turned out just fine, or so I thought, and so I moved on to problem two.
First, I decided that squinting through my wire-frame glasses was a rather glaring sign the time had come for an eye check and new specs. After the eye check, the owner of the practice, a courtly older gentleman with an Israeli accent, sat me down to help me select the perfect frames. He pulled a daring, clunky dark brown pair with pearl arms from the wall. “These will look like jewelry on your face,” he said. That day I needed a little above-the-shoulders bling, so I said, “sold.”
Three weeks later, the great debate began—will my hair grow out before the conference? Fearing it would, I called the salon. Sadly, my regular stylist wasn’t available, so I was booked with “the new girl.” Not comforting. . . In the short meantime, I picked up the new funky glasses. Not knowing me, nor my normally sedate style, she tossed the card with my “hair-history” aside, (Yes, we ladies have these.) and proceeded to “give me a better color match.”
I assumed she was trying to match the self-treated color which was only mildly darker than normal. Nuh uh. . . She saw a funky pair of glasses and wanted to match my look to that attribute. In fifty-nine minutes I was transformed---to Elvira of Halloween and werewolf fame. There was no time for further correction. The plane was about to fly and with me and this ebony hair and glasses combo.
Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the glasses or the funky hair that caught my granddaughter’s attention when I arrived in Utah after my five-hour flight.. That evening, perched upon her father’s knee she asked, “Why does Grandma have a moustache?” My son, in an effort to alert me to something he thought I’d want to address, shared this conversation with me, and my response? Another race to another salon for the painful lip-waxing.
I should have just gone with a lampshade that really would have solved all my problems.