To prepare for my new job I have given up my long gypsy skirts. I even bought real shoes since I only own flip-flops.
“OK, the scraggly hair has to go,” I muttered as I studied my reflection in the mirror. “You had your fun island life, coloring strands of hair pink and purple. Now you’re back in Indiana. You are working in a funeral home. You’ve got to look less like a throwback from Woodstock.”
Two days later I sat in my friend’s beauty shop.
“Cut my hair off,” I said nervously. “But I don’t want to look like Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton.”
“I can do it,” Lisa nodded.
As she grabbed at my sun-damaged tresses with killer scissors, I closed my eyes.
My haircut turned out cute and easy. I haven’t told many people how much I miss my long hair, even if it did frequently look like a rag mop on my head.
After the haircut drama I carefully packed my limited new wardrobe and drove south. As usual, I blasted my favorite music while envisioning the elementary school cafeteria tables.
I am still hurt about that terrible day in first grade when my best friend, Vicki, decided to dump me.
“But why?” I asked as my lower lip wiggled. “Yesterday, we were best friends.”
“We are not friends anymore,” she stormed.
Vicki not only banned me from sitting at our usual lunch table, she also kicked me out of a game of four-square on the playground.
A zillion times, I wished that Vicki would never, ever grow her front teeth. I wished for her to get measles every single month for the rest of her life. I wished for her to move far away, like maybe Alaska.
By fifth grade I managed to beat Vicki at something. I sprouted boobs before she did. I strutted around like I was Marilyn Monroe’s baby sister. That was the year that Vicki was nicknamed “IB” for her ironing board chest.
It’s been years since I attended a seminar. What if the women there were all more mature models of that mean old Vicki from childhood? What if I couldn’t fit in?
As it turned out, I made some wonderful new friends. One of the best is Becky, who has a deliciously wicked sense of humor. She also fears situations where she has no one to sit with during breaks and meals. Yes, Becky made my trip much, much easier and fun.
I managed to keep my weirdo character defects under wraps until we were loading our bags to head home.
“I’ll just follow you to I-40,” I said, since I can get lost in a hallway closet.
“No problem,” she said.
Maybe three streets later, I noticed that I was no longer following Becky from Evansville and her Indiana plate. Instead, I was behind someone from Tennessee.
How long had I been following the wrong vehicle? And what if the Tennessee driver happened to be on his way to Idaho? Well, I would have blindly followed that driver since I have the attention span of a fly.
Obviously, I blew my attempt to make a good impression on my new friend.
But I did leave her with a good laugh. So it’s not all bad, I guess.