How to Talk About Heroin Needles and Christmas in the Same Story. Almost.

Notice how big your living room feels now that you’ve taken the Christmas tree down? That’s how my hair feels now that the bottom half is gone. Tobias got his hair cut at the barber today, and I thought that I should take advantage of the rare combination of a) having someone to watch the kids and b) having too much hair. The barber knew how to do fades or fades, so I got a fade. Unfortunately, the fade is not a super-tough highsider, nor is it a smooth flattop. Rather, the fade ends just above ear level and leaves a spectacular mushroom cap. As a Salt n’ Pepa backup dancer who’s making up for a lack of talent by wearing the absolute latest in pleated stonewashed jeans and off-the-shoulder sweatshirts, I’m in. As a late-30’s professional, as a mother-of-two, as someone trying to do something about the graffiti without gentrifying the neighborhood*, as someone who tries to maintain an air of dignity while wearing a turtleneck, I am most certainly not in. I am out and, although I have actually practiced my ‘sardonic’ look in the mirror, I don’t know how to fix it. Mousse, probably.

*I don’t really care about the graffiti. Took a bit of dramatic license there. I’m no gentrifier, unless you count being an absolute stickler about not letting my daughter play with used needles she finds on the playground. No joke, the neighborhood pre-pre-pre-K I sent her to was big on parental involvement, which meant that literally every morning at drop-off a parent was assigned the chore of walking around the perimeter of the playground looking for used needles, broken bottles, and human excrement. One time we had a parent’s meeting to talk about the pros and cons of various approaches to moving vagrants off the front steps of the schoolhouse in the morning. (My approach? A loud ‘good morning’ from 10 yards away and then pretend to tie Frida’s shoelaces to give some time for the person to acquaint themselves with their surroundings and make a graceful exit. Another parent’s approach was to start yelling at them about Rules and Signage. Jesus, lady, have you never been hungover? Never had a few too many beers? Never been so blasted that you’ve passed out on the steps of a tiny woodland cottage with wee little windows where maybe fairies live and you should probably lie down and wait for them to bring you a snuggly blanket made of magic moss to keep you warm while you sleep, but then you wake up and slowly realize that it’s just a preschool? Never HAD FUN? That yelling lady kills me. Seriously, she’s joyless. Ugh. No fairies for her.)

So, yeah, I live in the hood. Come to think of it, maybe all my haircut needs to look cool and fit in are some BOYZ. C’mon, Tobias, let’s go back to the barbershop. We’ve gotta get us some BOYZ.


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