Thursday, July 10, 2008

One More Day

I am feeling better.   My ears still feel "moist," so I will be avoiding the pool today but I think I'll make it through the last two weeks.  On Tuesday night, I went to bed at midnight (quite an accomplishment for me) and then last night I went to bed at 4AM again.  Sigh.  

Right now my life is occupied with the looming academic conference and getting my dummy started for my picture books class.  I need to finalize what I will sending as submissions to the conference reading committee and I have four rehearsals to run/attend before next Saturday.  In addition, I have roughly a week and a half to get my picture book in shape, so I'm trying to pace myself a little so if I stay up until 5AM it won't be because I HAVE to.

Mostly my mind is fixated on seeing Bryan tomorrow.  This will be the first time we have more than 24 hours to see each other and we've never gone camping while I was here, so it will be a new experience in many respects.  Being with Bryan makes me feel so normal.  I have a tendency to get so invested in everything I do, and he is the only one who can pull me out of the trance-like state I find myself in sometimes.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to be here for 6 weeks and never see him.  

Since I can't swim, I'm going to go on a bike ride this morning. Here is a snippet from an adapted version of the first chapter of my novel:

So I went to a place called Hair Champs to get my hair dyed. I’m not a high maintenance gal so the implications of attending a $7.99 haircut place for a major cosmetic transformation did not occur to me. I walked in with a purpose—I knew the colors and had a picture of the cut I wanted. However, I ended up with an artiste.  

“Can I help you?” a foreign-looking woman behind the counter had asked. She had enormous breasts. I’m sorry, but that was the first thing I noticed about her. Her v-neck blouse gave me an eyeful as I walked up to the counter. And just to clarify, I am not gay. My mom thought I was for a while, but that’s a different story.

“Um, I want to get my hair cut and colored,” I said, holding the picture up for her to see.

“Well,” she began in an accent that I recognized as Russian-esque, “I think we can do something for you; you will like.” She began to lead me to a station on the right side of the room.

“I want this,” I said again, jabbing my finger at the photograph of Ashlee Simpson that I had clipped from my mom’s copy of InStyle magazine. I walked over to her station and saw that it was very minimalist with a few hair products and that jar of blue gel they put combs in scattered across the counter. My eyes were mostly drawn towards the picture of a young blond girl doing a split taped to the mirror.

Her eyes registered what I was looking at. “Oh, that’s my daughter, Alexa. She’s cheerleader. Very good. She is even on All-Star team.”

“That’s…great,” I said, with an over-the-top smile. “By the way, what was your name again?” Her blouse didn’t have enough material to put a nametag on, obviously.

“It’s Elly, short for Elvira.” Elvira? The Mistress of the Dark? I just couldn’t believe how much sense that made. Big breasts. Big hair. I had a celebrity impersonator for a hairdresser.

“Wow, that’s unusual,” I said, lifting my jaw up from the floor.

“Very common in Russia,” she said while she brushed stray hairs from the chair in front of me.

“So, what do you think of my plan?” I asked, gesturing back to the photograph.

“Yes, yes, but I will make it work with your head. It is, how do you say, squatty.”

“My head is squatty,” I repeated as I looked at myself in her mirror. While I contemplated my head shape, I heard the chatter of the hairdressers behind me. Apparently they had all taken the same boat over here because I heard an inordinate amount of v-sounds. I felt like I was in the cockpit of Air Force One in that Harrison Ford movie.

“Let me take better look,” she said as she grabbed my shoulders and shoved me into the black vinyl seat. “Yes, mm-hmm, I know what we will do. What colors did you want it to be?”

“Well, I want it be black …” I began but I became distracted by her long red fingernails combing my scalp. I think she was testing the weight of my hair, but I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to feel like my head was getting raked like a big pile of fall leaves. I slouched a little in the chair to distance myself from her claws and finished, “With blue stripes somewhere towards the front.”

“Black and blue?” She chuckled a little; the American expression was apparently not foreign to her.

“Yeah, just call me a Duke fan, I guess,” I said with a guffaw. She stopped laughing and just stared at me in the mirror with a look of confusion on her face.

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