Wednesday 16 November 2011

The peculiarity of thwarting, by the woman with a platypus on her head

There have been some bizarre happenings in my household today – or should I say ‘flathold,’ as we are certainly being held hostage here against our will, all five of us crammed into a two-bedroom flat, Mr Housing Minister, but therein lies another tale. This morning, my husband, who has recently gone freelance, and so now is able to ‘nip in and out,’ took the two-year-old to the workshop, before feeding the baby via express-o machine (milk from me, pumped double-quick with my new handheld breast pump that doubles up as one of those hand-bending-stress-reliever-thingies). The bottle feed meant my tiny was zonked out, the two-year-old was literally out and I was soon to behave outlandishly. I was alone. The house was quiet. It was spooky. Soon the first odd happening occurred: I blow-dried my hair. With two roundy brushes: One medium, one small. Prior to that I showered and nit-combed my hair - to the uninitiated (two ‘nits’ in that word) or those without kids/nit carriers, I was not behaving like a nit with a comb (though I’ll wager I looked like one as I yelped and yanked at my wet locks with a metal comb with three inch spikes), I was removing the last traces of actual live beings who took up residence in my hair and are now refusing to leave. I once squatted in my feral youth, so this is possibly payback.

Anyhow, the other peculiar thing that happened this morning was this: When I came out of the shower, I washed all my hair brushes, including the two roundy ones, which I last used in 1997, before proceeding to the kitchen – where there is a plug socket that you can get to without training for the Olympics – where I began to dry my hair, experimenting briefly and entangledly, with the brushes. Why are these events bizarre? I never, ever blow dry my hair or wash hair brushes that I never use. I am never ever alone - certainly not without a little voice screaming or shouting or demanding (not just those inside my head). No, these events are bizarre because they never happen (apart, sadly, from the nit-combing) these strange events took place because of what I call, my ‘thwarting.’ Now that I have written one novel, had the book launched and waved it off, I am coming up with all sorts of whacky practises to prevent myself from sitting down and redrafting my second novel. EVEN WHEN I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY! Why am I still doing this? I’ll try to answer that question next time. BTW, because I got bored halfway through blow drying, my hair looks flicky on the one side and like I have a platypus residing on it on the other – his bill slapped across my cheek.

Saturday 5 November 2011

Home hairdressing is like novel writing (probably) best left to the professionals...

I have been wearing my hair scrunched into something resembling a knot (a not?) for some time now. Mostly because with the terrific-ten-week-old, the tremendous-two-year-old and the teenage-cash-demander-stand-up comedian there is not much me time, never mind ‘hair-time,’ left. I exist in a vortex of activity in which ‘me’ doesn’t often come out - except via the occasional shout. Today I decided that I needed a sea-change and it was my hair that was going to make waves. 

Brandishing my bluntish hairdressing scissors; the ones that have attacked the locks of my fifteen-year-old for years, and latterly my trusting husband and a few brave (drunk?) friends, I set to. The only thing sharp about my scissors have been my words to my son hovering above them like blades Just lift your chin off your chest before I cut off your ear. Yes, I transform into a Van Goughian madwoman when the subject is my son and my canvas is his hair. Anyway, I stood in front of my bathroom mirror in the gloom (the light obscured by the hanging – yes it looked dead – washing that dried three days ago). First of all I layered the sides. I could still see at this stage. Then the thought occurred to me that I might try layering the back. It was like playing blind-man’s-bluff with my hair as the opponent, as I groped around the back of my head, pulling up layers and hacking away. Before long (there was short) I was in the bluff. Scissor-happy, I liked what I saw – at this stage my hair had gone from long and lank to mid-length and nicely layered. 

My two-year-old, who was taking full advantage of my distraction by emptying ‘things’ into the bathtub and over the floor, said that I looked ‘gorgeous’ and that she ‘liked it,’ I think she may have been ‘liking’ my ignoring her activities with the perfume bottle, canny kid that she is. This tick should have been my cue that the session was over, but the scissors were hot in my hands and I thought I could ‘style’ it some more. Pause for a moment (as I should have) and imagine a sped up film of a person cutting their own hair. This was to become my mode in the minutes that followed as I lost all sense of time and proportion. Soon I had cut a wedge from the right-hand side that had to be paid for by the left and so it went on for some time like a bizarre hair politics show, until eventually my daughter who prefers to play than eat demanded lunch. My hair, like a novel, or rather now, a short story, was forced into conclusion by events outside my control, which was just as well, otherwise I may have continued cutting, cutting, cutting, shaping, shaping, shaping until someone said stop.