1. Don’t get your hair cut before a big event. It’s sure to be too short.
2. Don’t wash your hair with a new shampoo before a big event. It’s almost guaranteed that your hair will behave as if it came from another planet. It won’t curl right. It won’t comb right and it won’t play nice with your other hair care products.
I violated the second rule last Saturday morning when I was getting ready to go to an Environmental Law Seminar at Loyola University in Los Angeles. I was carpooling with three other people and we’d agreed to meet at a shopping center parking lot at 7:30 a.m. sharp and drive up from there.
At 7:23 a.m. I was still in the bathroom with my hair standing on end. But this was not hair. It was thousands of tiny antennae. I was the human version of rabbit ears. I could almost see the electricity arcing as I tried to draw my brush through it.
I knew something wasn’t right when I was rinsing the new volumizer shampoo from my hair in the shower. My hair felt different, but I went through all the motions, applying conditioner and style spray. The static electricity began to build while I was blow drying and nothing worked from that point on. I finally flattened it down as best I could with hair spray and ran down to the garage and my car, only to find it gone.
Allan had forgotten about the seminar and he’d taken my car to the gym. I didn’t have the key to his car, so I called him, frantic, and he was home in record time. I also put in a quick call to my fellow car poolers to let them know I was on my way, but in my hurry to get to the shopping center I missed the freeway exit (why does that always happen?). I took the next one and doubled back, but apparently I should have gone one exit beyond the one I wanted because when I got back onto the freeway, I was already past the exit I needed. Why does that always happen?
To avoid getting trapped in an endless freeway loop, I exited immediately, parked the car and once again, called my fellow carpoolers. We all agreed I should stay where I was and they would pick me up. That worked beautifully, except that on the way to Loyola, the carpool driver asked me if I’d locked my car and even though I was certain I had, he seemed quite certain that I hadn’t. How he knew that I’ll never know, but to be safe, I called Allan and asked if he would make a drive to the store and check my car. He did. Turns out it was locked!
By now I was counting up the things that had already gone wrong that morning and figured I was safe. It was easily three and we all know trouble comes in threes. The freeway traffic was light—a good sign—and by my watch, it appeared that we were going to make the conference before the program started. Hurray! I’d just begin to relax when the heavens opened up and the rains began. Buckets of rain. Knowing college campuses, I feared we might have a long walk when we got there. I feared right. We were all soaked by the time we made it to the lecture hall, but at least my hair was no longer standing on end. Nothing like buckets of cold water to cure a little static electricity.
We got coffee and snacks and piled into the hall just in time for the first lecture on legal research for activists, which I’m happy to say was more interesting than it sounds. The speaker, an environmental law student, salted her research tips with humor and we all had a good time. Figuring I was now home free, I finished my mini-scone during the break and picked up my coffee cup only to have the lid pop off as I was taking a drink. Coffee here, coffee there, coffee coffee everywhere!
My jeans and all my papers got splattered. Of course, one of my fellow carpoolers had to grin and make a crack. “Gee, did they give you a special program? Mine doesn’t look like that.” I brandished my half empty coffee cup like a weapon and said I could fix his program too, not to worry.
So, it was going to be one of those days, the kind that make you wish you’d stayed in bed. Naturally, that’s what was going through my head, but this time I was wrong. And delighted to be so. The rest of the seminar was wonderful. The talks were instructive and helpful, the war stories inspirational and the hot buffet lunch of delicious Thai food was a highlight of the day.
However, my bit of advice stands. Don’t wash your hair with new shampoo before a big event! Odds are you’ll end up with bad hair and that will be the least of it. For some of us, bad hair is a cosmic force unto itself. If you’re one of the affected, know this and act accordingly. Bad hair creates chain reactions of craziness, which rarely lead to anything worthwhile … unless you have a blog post to write and then it might make for a pretty good story.
Suz, off to stock up on her old shampoo