May 112014
 

I found my first grey hair.

I thought I found my first grey hair, but I wasn’t sure.

What I was sure about was the impossibility of getting a good look at the back of my head in the bathroom mirror. (This is a problem I’ve had before.)

It could have been one of the odd strands that picks up light differently than the rest, looking blonde instead of brown, but I couldn’t know without getting a closer look. The hair in question had to be pulled — not because it was grey, but because I wasn’t sure if it was grey.

After mistakenly uprooting several of its innocent medium brown brothers, I finally managed to pull the offending strand from it’s follicle. I held it up to the light and looked at it from different angles, I laid it in my palm and examined it up close, but I still couldn’t ascertain its color.

I needed a second opinion to get some confirmation of its greyness.

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“Honey,” I would say, “I think I found a grey hair, but I can’t tell. Can you find it?”

I’d point to the general location and bow my head to give him a better look. But instead of looking, he would place his hands on my shoulders and kiss the top of my head.

“You’re beautiful,” he’d say, “You’ll be beautiful with one grey hair or one million.”

I would lift my head and look at him with a half smile and a correction.

“Yeah. I already know that. I’m not questioning my appearance, I just want to know if it’s grey or not. It might be blonde, but I can’t get a good look.”

I would bow my head again, despite the fact he’s tall enough to see the top of my head without my help. He would examine my crown, find the odd strand, and offer a weak confirmation.

“Yep. It’s grey… at least I think it’s grey… I’m not sure.”

I would lift my head and frown a little.

“I hope it’s grey,” he’d look down at me with smiling eyes from beneath his own salt-and-pepper hair, “it’s about time you started catching up to me.”

“It’s not a race, love.” I’d respond, grinning, “and if it were, you’d be winning by a mile.”

He would return to his chair at the kitchen table and continue sketching out an idea for a new project. I’d go back to reading and drinking coffee in the chair across from his.

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I enjoy daydreaming, but I also enjoy reality. I’m not lonely. I love my life, my work, my friends, and I like having my own space.

But sometimes I think it might be nice to share my mundane and meaningful life milestones with someone else.

The grey hair wasn’t exactly a milestone, but it felt like something. It felt like a quiet affirmation of moving forward — an opportunity to appreciate the fact I’ve made it this far without mangling my career, my health, or my personal life. I’m here, I’m okay, and that’s something to celebrate.

People are always around to share the big stuff, but not the small stuff. For a brief moment, I regretted the absence of someone who might have shared the tiny moment with me. At the least, it would have been nice to have someone else here just to confirm the color of the thing.

I carefully escorted the maybe-grey hair into the kitchen and rooted around in my utility drawer for clear tape. I taped one end of the single strand, but couldn’t find any dark paper lying around to stick it to.

I glanced over at the fridge. It was glossy, black, and immaculate — free of fingerprints and scratches, free of any evidence that often accompanies shared lives and shared spaces. It had no calendar, no shopping list, and no rudimentary crayon drawings. It had no dry erase board on which to write reminders to take the trash out when you get home, or pick up the laundry from the cleaners, or I love you. It had no magnets advertising take-out for those nights when we’re too tired to cook.

I stuck the maybe-grey hair to the front of the fridge. Against the glossy black surface, it certainly looked grey, but I couldn’t be sure.

 

  9 Responses to “maybe grey”

  1. I remember when my gray hair started showing up, I would tell the barber to “just cut the gray ones”. Now it’s just easier to shave my head. My salt and pepper hair has gotten a lot saltier over the years.

    ‘“It’s not a race, love.” I’d respond, grinning, “and if it were, you’d be winning by a mile.”’

    Of course I’m winning. After all, I’m old enough to be your father, and I’ve earned every one of these gray hairs.

    ‘“But sometimes I think it might be nice to share my mundane and meaningful life milestones with someone else.”

    Well, it just so happens that I do mundane and meaningful better than most, so if you care to run it by me. I’d be more than happy to share the moment. To me, the mundane moments can be some of the best ones.

    • Now it’s just easier to shave my head.

      So you’re saying I should shave my head? Hmmm… I’ll consider it.

      My salt and pepper hair has gotten a lot saltier over the years.

      You? Salty? No way!

      Well, it just so happens that I do mundane and meaningful better than most, so if you care to run it by me. I’d be more than happy to share the moment. To me, the mundane moments can be some of the best ones.

      So, um… there’s a hair taped to my refrigerator… maybe you could come and tell me if it’s grey? Also, I have beer, so that sounds like a party, right? ;)

  2. I have no idea when I might start going grey or losing hair. My mom was totally grey (or would have been, if not for hair coloring) by the time she was my age, but my dad has just a few scattered grey hairs (and he still has more or less a full head of hair). I probably won’t even realize when I start going grey. I probably won’t even know when it happens, because I have sandy blond hair that could hide a lot of grey hairs.

    What do you mean the post isn’t really about grey hair? Well, yeah, having someone you can share your little victories (and defeats) with is cool.

    • My mom was totally grey (or would have been, if not for hair coloring) by the time she was my age,

      I’m not very experienced with hair coloring… it seems like far too much effort to me. I like doing things and having them done… forever. I don’t like anything that requires maintenance. My hope is that if and when I go grey, I’ll look badass and have no reason to color it. :) (Because I won’t. I get my hair cut once a year… like hell I’m going to go to some salon every month to sit in a chair for two hours… FFS… I have things to do!)

      What do you mean the post isn’t really about grey hair?

      Wait, what? No… it’s about grey hair. Really. :)

  3. I remember my first grey hair, then again considering it was only 4 years ago there would be issues if I didn’t. There wasn’t any uncertainty as to whether or not mine was grey though. It was in my bangs and it came in silver, my hair is a really dark reddish brown. I plucked that one and was a bit freaked out by it for a few days. Now I just dye my hair instead. Luckily for me nothing about my hair, aside from its length or lack thereof has ever been an issue when it comes to dating and relationships.

    • Yeah, I don’t actually care all that much. Hair is easy to change. With that said, the idea of dying my hair all the time sounds odious. I rarely even use a hairbrush.

  4. Your words capture that elusive ‘wanting’ just so. For me, it is best summed up by Susan Sarandon’s character in the movie “Shall We Dance”

    “We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”

    At my age, I believe the marriage part is optional, but I’m still rather enchanted with the idea of bearing witness.

    This post opened up my heart. Thank you for the reminder.

    • Susan Sarandon’s character in the movie “Shall We Dance”

      I’m not familiar with the film, but the text sounds about right. :)

      At my age, I believe the marriage part is optional, but I’m still rather enchanted with the idea of bearing witness. This post opened up my heart. Thank you for the reminder.

      I’m with you on the marriage thing — it’s nice, I’m sure, but it’s entirely optional. Witnessing, sharing… that’s the important part.

      Thanks for the comment, Night Owl. :)

  5. Oh yes the grey hairs. I don’t remember the 1st one as such but suddenly there seemed to be enough to make me realise they were actually grey and not just lighter than the rest. I have fairly dark hair so there not many when I noticed this.

    My Dad has been grey since his twenties, the most beautiful silver white actually and I hope that one day I will get there and if I do I will happily show it off, for now though, as it changes, I have gone for the box of dye and am enjoying the many varied and funky colours in an attempt to make the transition slightly easier

    Mollyxxx

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