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The Case of the Hair Piece

There were actually two hairpieces. She purchased them from a Korean lady at a hair stand in the Washington Square mall. It was her first time in the mall and she had just enough extra money for the month to buy about 100 dollars worth of random things. This month she wanted a vanilla-based perfume, and then whatever else. Since she was getting the perfume at Sephora everything else to round out the hundred would probably be from Sephora too because all of the attractive sales ladies would impressively make her believe that purchasing extra little wrinkle creams and a volumizing mascara would make her look like Twiggy.
But she didn’t want to look like Twiggy as far as her hair was concerned, because everyone in Portland, all of the hip young ladies, were cutting their hair like that, and half of them were experimenting with being lesbians. And she neither wanted to look like a butch wannabe-lesbian, nor look like every other girl her age.
Unfortunately her hair was naturally thin, and she had it trimmed often at the salon that gave out free beer at each hair session, so she never could grow her hair out very long. And if she could it probably wouldn’t look very good anyway, and the neutral dirty blonde, light brown tone of it was irritatingly dull, so, she stopped at the hair stand. Just to look. And having taught in Korea she caught the eye of the sales lady, who loved her coat. And the coat was from Korea, and it sparked up whole branches of conversation from which the girl couldn’t weasel away.
Half an hour later she was walking out of the Washington Square mall with two hair pieces, many shades darker than her natural hair color, because the Korean lady and her assistant from Mexico liked her in chocolate brown hair.
At the Target next door she purchased chocolate Loreal hair color and at home she dyed her hair chocolate, and placed the two hairpieces on her head, and there they were, wavy chocolate brown locks cascading down somewhat frivolously just below her shoulders. She bobbed her head in the mirror, and the locks bobbed up and down, joyful.
The next day she wore her hair to the local Starbucks, except on her way to Starbucks she bumped into a boy from high school. This was a little eye-popping because she lived three states away from where she went to high school, purposefully trying to get away from both the middle of nowhere and the highschoolers she had been stuck with for five years after moving from a southern hick town to a northern hick town. Now she was in a west coast city, and again, here she was stuck. He hesitated as he walked past. She hesitated. Maybe his hesitation was to determine if it really was her or not. Hers was at first to determine if it was him as she wasn’t wearing her glasses and was near-sighted. And then her longer hesitation was do I really want to stop and what was his name again?
They were in cross-country together. He was probably just an inch or two shorter than her, but it always felt like a foot. Otherwise he was handsome, but far too short to be thought of too much. He was best friends with her best friend’s crush though. Her best friend, at least back in high school, thought his best friend was a Greek god. She would never understand this, as this Greek god had mousy blonde hair, and a cherry red face, and didn’t ever seem very bright, but everyone has their preferences.
She was a boring cliché for crushes, having crushed on the prom king/merit scholarship finalist/class president Mike who resembled Leo DiCaprio with blonde hair. Kind of, or maybe that was the star-struck love gaze of rose glasses talking. It was embarrassingly cliché.
She stopped and addressed herself. Hi, I know you.
Yes. I could never forget a Jackson face.
How’ve you been?
The typical talk. Except she lived in the same city, and he had taught English in the same city abroad. Everyone teaches in Korea. It’s not that big of a coincidence.
Too bad he was short.
I would love to talk more but I have to go.
Yeah, good to see you. I almost didn’t recognize you with your hair.
Oh yeah.
It’s long and brown.
Yeah. It’s not real.
It’s not?
No. It’s hairpieces.
This is where the gossip ensues. This is where I have evolved into more of a freak than I am already remembered for being, she thinks. Not that she would be remembered a wholelot, except she was always a little off. A little lisp. And she was in sports, and those make you memorable, for some reason.
And she had big eyes, big blue eyes, and even if the hair was dark and fake, it made her eyes pop like a movie stars. He was staring, she could tell he was mixed with a state of revelry and revulsion. She was staring at him.
Yeah, I ran into a Korean woman who insisted I buy it from her and I felt bad because she was lonely in America, and I remembered how lonely I was in Korea, and so I bought it, and I figured, hey, I should wear it, I paid enough for it. So there you go. But it is this color now, my real hair, I mean.
Oh. It looks good.
Huh. Thanks. I’m sorry, it is so good to see you, but I have to go. I live around here though, maybe I’ll see you around.
Running into old high school friends could be like running into old college friends she decided. Because these were the acquaintance friends, the facebook friends. And she quit facebook so it was the group of would-be facebook friends if she was still on facebook, but instead of, Hey are you on facebook? She no longer was embarrassed to try to provoke some intimacy that had never and would never really exist. Instead a simple, God it is raining so much! And Yes, this is fake hair, but it was for a good cause, it made the saleslady happy!, It makes me happy! A simple, yes I am a freak still, and more so and I never knew you but I can’t remember your name. I’m a freak but you remember my name. A simple, take care, maybe running into you again won’t be as anxiety-driven.
Bye.
She went to class the next day, and it was hard to wear the hair because she felt embarrassed. Because everyone knew her with short hair. But it was a city and a college, and a theater class. So if she was going to wear fake hair in a class this was the class to do it. So she wore it to the seventh floor of the building, and sat at the drafting table where she sketched and designed costumes for The Infernal Machine and The Tempest. And her hair bobbed as she sketched. The teacher looked at her suspiciously. You changed your hair. Did you dye it?
Yeah. It is darker.
In fact, it loked like her hair.
It kind of looks like my hair.
You see, it was going to look like someone’s hair that she knew. Someone inevitably was going to think that she did it for them. Of all of the people in her classes and work and in the grocery stores where she shopped and on the street where she lived, there would be a hundred- plus different hair styles, from Twiggy blonde and short, to young Mia Farrow even shorter like an adolescent choir boy, to luscious and long, and curly, or straight, dark, and red, and light, and fake. All of the hair and fashion obsessed ladies and lesbians, and confused experimentalists, and hipsters that she knew mostly just in passing. One would inevitably have this hair that she had chosen. And they would think,
Ah, she wants to look like me. And she is wearing fake hair. How sad/funny/embarrassing/impressive.
She would think something. And it would be all a lie because she would also think it was because of her. And it wasn’t.
I’m working on a film project.
Not a bad excuse, she thought, as she sketched in a miniature head on the top of Caliban’s bauble, for a carnivalesque, Shakespearean fool prop.
I’m making a film for class in a David Lynchian style because this girl finds out she is dead, and Lynch has a surrealist dreamy quality to his work that I think it stylistically perfect for my short film. SO many of his women play with the concept of dark and light, symbolized among other things in their hair, that I considered a wig, but I got hairpieces and dye instead, and I’m wearing it around to get into the part of my character more. I’m filming it but I’m also in it too, with my ex.
This was getting to be a hefty explanation for not being entirely true. She looked around. The class was almost over and it was a work day so it was sparse in numbers, but the surviving class was all looking at her, or rather, at her hair.
She held up Caliban with the bauble.
Is this good?
Yes, the teacher said, lips impressively thinned.
She smiled.
Good. As long as I’m on the right track.
I’d have to see the rest of your work, but that appears to be a good start.
It’ll be good.
The movie sounds exciting, is it for class?
Yes, she lied, looking down at her pencil. And it’s due next week, so I have a lot of work to do.
As if to make it clear that talking couldn’t coincide with work, she looked meaningfully up at the teacher, and her thick chocolate locks, and then with a final pressing of her lips to symbolize, and there it is, that’s all I have to say, she lifted her pen, gazed down at her paper with intensity, and began finalizing each pencil line with swift, deep strokes. This would be the final version of the monster. The ultimate Shakespearean fool in green rags, and long, sweeping rust-colored locks. Caliban, followed by Ariel the sprite, and Anubis and the Sphinx form Cocteau’s The Infernal Machine.
All half human, half otherworldly and animal creatures. She felt like them: to some a fool, and to others, larger than life, like gods.
She also felt thrilled to be wearing hairpieces in public, among judging acquaintances, and looking good.
Life is too short, not to wear these hairpieces, she decided.
She would grow her hair like this, and once everyone knew her hair was fake, it would be real.
Like the Velveteen rabbit of hair.
She would stun them with her realness.

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Maybe it’s not friendship…

“I must do something or I shall wear my heart away”. (Charles Dickens) I will name the five now: Loren, Michael, Josh, Sean, Adam, and Jeremy. And the whole names to boot. It will make it easier for my self-reflection. Let’s evaluate. First there was Loren. I fell in love! Haha, this deserves a blunt list to organize my brain:
1. Loren: me 19 english/philosophy major UO, him 22 psych major UCB, coworkers at calpirg in Berkeley, he’s my instructor first day, first day he’s wearing gold shorts, flamboyant, if he’s not gay I will like him I note…he is also laughing with a girl he later was gaga over though she had a beau…sex twice, ecstasy three times, overdose once, rejection: began after initial sex, and full-blown after second time….I knew from his words I was a good lover. What was it? My bad response: calls, gaga eyes, completely smitten, annoying…
2. Michael and Josh: neither was a coworker. Josh: friend of friend, came up to me, drunk at a party, sex many times the first night, hip hop music (I was in a hip hop phase, the roots, black eyed peas…) he cut his achilles in the shower, lots of blood, stitches…I consoled him with Billie Holiday, bad luck, Me: sold guitar, gas money to visit him at Western Oregon, beach night, sex. Michael comes along: smitten immediately. Sex: 0 times. Make out, beach, hot springs, popsicles, and cigarettes not to mention lemon drops: many many. Outcome: wishy washy Josh declines, I am wrapped up in Michael. He follows me on the street on campus. Gives me a flower behind the ear. “Youre mine for the day”. We meet at the library, he passes a note of ISBN numbers. And then an email. “Want to get popsicles sometime?” I have concluded romantics can be the most devastating. He nearly gives me a heart attack at the hot tubs, my heart is beating so fast with excited romantic feelings. I nearly puke. Michael maybe meets someone then, because a decline. I’m being a weirdo. I like him alot. He knows it, and no chase. He declines more, and then beings this girl Windsor to a party. She has a high-pitched voice and is chubby. I hate. Then he sees Josh, and weird moment, (friends circle stuff). But I moved to Spain. Good thing too because I was starting to be smitten again with a friend of mine and that was getting wonky too…(“men and women can never be friends, the sex part always gets in the way” I feel jealousy from this old movie quote and how true it is for some boys)….Michael is still my friend, he writes randomly, he’s married. Josh: meh, who knows. I hear he’s married. I really could care less.
3. Sean: barely noticed him at first. As usual, he pursued me, my regular charming cashier at Sundance. Everyone liked him, that big smile, those sparkling eyes. I was indifferent. And then a night: wine, red tie, walk in the dark, stories. I always want to move slow. I absorb things slowly. I react slowly. I lose my heart and recover it slowly. But I move into these things too fast. So Sean: sex maybe 4 or 5 times. What then? His ex back in town. Post ex: less communication. Our friendship and laughs: declined. Good bike trips and parties without jealousy: 0. Me: devastated. Next step: he gets me a job there, a great place, Sundance. Only problem: he’s there. Big problem. He puts up a wall and I am no longer a friend, I am a stranger, I might as well have the ebola virus. There is no escape. Quit a great job and delusionally believe it had never happened. Or face it until things smoothed over. His friends: fuckers. The outcome: keep job and eventually notice my gaga-eyed coworker Adam. And he noticed me months earlier.
4. Adam. Charming. Weird, graduated, 26, from Illinois. Long hair. Wild. Protective. Pretty eyes. Maybe this was the first time I was in love. Me: I move into his complex o the 2nd floor, he is on the 3rd. We run into each other in the hall. I’m carrying a spatula. He is standing in the stair well and has no idea why. He comes in. For several nights we stay up til dawn talking. We make out over an algebra book. Everything is heaven. He only has to explain once that he still has feelings for the married woman coworker and that he will never marry and have kids. I still really like him. Sex, I like him more. We move in together. Fights, passion, etc. I move to Korea, my cat dies. I’m devastated. He likes a girl. The new girl at work. They close the store together now. I am alone in a foreign country. I want to die, like my cat. I curse them. And then he calls and they didn’t work out. I can use my webcam again. We talk. I return and we’re on and off for months. I’m unemployed, a nomad, lost, confused. He wants space. Visits me in Ptown once a week, once a month, never. No more. The summer is a blank one. I wanted to camp, I wanted to make love. I wanted another night on the beach. I wanted a lot, and I felt blue but not the sky, more like an early Picasso with old weathered men and poor, hungry children. I felt hungry but too tired to consume anything. Just able to walk and walk and walk as if searching for the light at the end. And the biggest consolation was that the foreign country, the year of loneliness miles away form anything familiar, was over. And my power source came in the strength I had hadfor a moment there overseas feeling solitude with peace, knowing I would return to something, and being immersed in the moment, not expecting, wanting, or wishing. Just knowing that that was all there was then, and whatever was ahead would be good, and more familiar. But this was my freedom. And no one was there to reject me. I wasn’t interested in anyone but myself; in that was a sort of peace. But a temporary, lonely one. It was a blind spot. I wanted to return and find love…
5. Jeremy. Takes me off facebook. Such a little action and so painful! But woah, let’s back up. 9 months in Portland and no job. In Thailand I had spilled tea on my keyboard. Time passed and it came back to haunt me. Kernel panic and a dead ibook, and Ian, my old boss’s neighbor sets up my new macbook pro. I love it. Aluminum. Shiny. Black keys. Backlit LCD screen. Liquid crystals. That’s beautiful. I remember this boy with longish dark locks sitting next to Ian. He seemed unapproachable. Later it’s Ian who helps get me an interview when they’re hiring, and Dan hires me right off. I meet Jeremy and he says something rude. Bad start. But then later we talk. We have things in common. And he sculpts. And I picture him sculpting me with his hands, and I want it to happen. I am determined to get to know him. Little did I know his roommate liked me and I had to maneuver around that. And then we see a play and I snap something and it irks him and I think, well that’s it. And I email him and then…he wants to hang out with me! He wants to bake cookies with me! So we do, and we talk about everything and I want to move slow but I also want him to sculpt me with his hands. And so we well, we don’t move slow. And I tell him I’m sensitive. And he says so is he. And I tell him I am picky. And he is too. And I tell him I really like him but I just came out of a confusing heartbreaking affair and things are better slow, I grow slow. So does he he says. It’s perfect. So we jump right in. Time: 1 1/2 months. Breaker: I have herpes. Who knew…I guess Adam had it. I guess I hadn’t even realized that it was a lifetime disease. it doesn’t go away and Adam had it and I now had it and I had given it. Without a single problem of my own here he was and he was a big mess. And he tried to deal. And we hung out. And we even had sex again: once. And then I don’t know, something fell apart. Something clicked. He made a decision. And on the phone he said no more. And at work he was cold. And again a wall. And I was scared. Here it was again. That inevitable hurt. That wall. That deep core of pain. I felt like I had been punched. I could barely breath. Should I quit. I couldn’t. Look at the unemployment rate. I swung back and forth between hope and hopelessness. And the hope was the worst. It was the worst. Because it was shadowed in hopelessness. And shadowed by other failures. And I’m still lonely.
But I named five guys, three coworkers. I have neglected Tynan and Colin. I have nearly forgotten oh what’s his name, Gabe, and Pablo, and honestly can’t think of the guy who took my virginity’s name at the moment (oh, ahem, Thor)…But all these I told to mosey on, and didn’t think twice. And Tynan, man I really messed him up. But wasn’t he just obsessed. Isn’t this unrequited love a sort of obsession? He had all these ideas of me and our potential, but what did he really know? ANd why did he want to be with someone who so obviously had had a change of heart. And he was a puppy dog, and it was pathetic. And so looking at it from that perspective, I might see myself more clearly and I feel like a fool. So I’ll weep in silence, and bit my tongue from now on, because this behavior, this need to just at least talk, well, it’s so unbecoming, and I am so much better than that. Plus with all these guys to think back on, I’m sure if I had played it more cool I could have saved myself a lot of heartbreak and dignity if not created more moments of free-loving adventure. And I’m not a longterm loose-skirt, and now, well with the H, I suppose I’m pretty prude until well into something, but let’s just agree to have a little more self-respect shall we, and not try to hard at the things that are not going to be…But you know, Adam really is an exception in all of this, and I’m not saying he’s the Mr. Big to my Carrie alter-ego, but he certainly has come and gone a few times and remains one of my dearest friends. Because I suppose he knows me. Maybe it’s not friendship in the normal sense of the word, but I like him in my life, he holds a part of my heart even after all of it or maybe because….and the special glimmer in his eye for me, well, that has always remained and I for him, and that’s more than I can say for some.
But back to my little lone apartment and my newish cat. Pizza and a movie for us, all right. I just guess I’m feeling the urge to get past all this and I’m disappointed that I can’t seem to yet. I want to settle down. No drama. No games. I just want a best friend/lover/dreamer/artist and lots of time in bed being lazy. Its really so simple. =)
But that’s more than enough for now, just words from a wise man:
“Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” (Albert Camus)

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Colleen, Sylvia and Me

“If you want to quit or even if you want to kill yourself, wait a week, because by then the whole world will be different, and you know it always is!” Colleen says.

 This will be a calm spring return.  If I can survive the commercial blaring pink frills of Valentines day, the most soul draining holiday about fabricated, candy love, then yes, this will be a peaceful winter term.  J disappointed me for good….exed me from his life like a used kleenex. Maybe it’s a transient feeling and potentials aside because they’re not often realities, but where I saw art and passion, I now see computer chip and I also see maybe weakness, self-induced mind control, a very normal predicament to the average mollusk.  And besides it’s not true, he’s an escape artist, and I’m an overanalyzing black biled indecisive vagrant…sometimes.

But forget all that!  Be here now Ram Dass, or Ray LaMontagne would warble and croon.  What is in this immediate moment?  Well I have architecture tomorrow! And daydreams, morning coffee, a good book to finish, another good one to start.  The Journals of Sylvia Plath.  Getting into journals of writers I like, they seem like a peek inside the underwear drawer.  A secret little corner rarely visited, where all of the stories are demystified, and discerned with the raw, aggressive emotions and deliberations behind the scenes of their plots.  Maybe Sylvia’s life didn’t end pretty, but I relate to her, and I loved reading her over the past recent years.  I am    soooo     disconnected      sometimes.      I    am        far        away.

There are a few out there who feel similar parallels.

She writes: “I’m am too tired, too noble, in a perverse way.” and “no more knuckling under, groaning, moaning, one gets used to pain…”  and the best words of tonight of all “O do not make an artificial stasis which is unbreakable; break and bend and grow again”

And so I will, and I hope you will do the same…

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