Thursday, April 10, 2008

Plop Plop

I saw two turtles sitting on a log poking out of the shallows of Ragtag Lake, sunbathing. "Don't get too close," I admonished myself. Water turtles (snappers, I presume) are wily and dive in as soon as they see you or sense movement, or, for all I know, smell you. "I am not too close," I asserted, to myself. "I am a good fifty feet away." Maybe forty. Or thirty. I am not good at judging distances. "Okay, but be careful," I cautioned back, moving just a tiny bit closer. Sure enough, eagle-eyed little beasts that they are, they both immediately took a dive--plop, plop--and disappeared.

Loneliness settled over my shoulders like a curse. Fortunately, though, I then saw, further out, two more turtles parked on a thick branch sticking up out of the water. No way to creep close. No dives. Communion restored.

Today, feeling some haircut regret after a visit to the local budget hair salon, I thought that one of the great things about being a turtle is never having to worry about your hair. Even my cat, eighteen and a half years old and shedding heavily as spring advances, has bits and bunches of hair that stick out at odd angles in her ruff. Just a couple of small chunks that will eventually fall out, like last year. I believe this is a consequence of old age, for it never happened when she was younger. Frankly, it makes her look quite silly. Today, back from the salon, I felt much the same, though at this point I am somewhat reconciled.

I realize, that like the turtle without hair, I am a writer without buzz or vibe or coolness of any kind, with a very small audience. I am invisible, really, but feeling more comfortable with it than I used to. If you have no hair, you have no hair, so why worry? I envy those with a head full, it is true--especially if it's smartly styled (and it always is.) But a turtle climbing onto a log with a head of wet hair would look woefully ridiculous once it had dried, with weird little whirls and dips and sticky-out parts all over the place. So, you see, there are blessings to be had everywhere.


C.K. said...

I've always been the type who has "bits and bunches of hair that stick out at odd angles" so I guess your cat and I have something in common!

I agree with you that it's not worth worrying about having no hair. But I think your books are very cool indeed so I have a hard time imagining that there's a lack of buzz about them. If that's true I guess we have our ridiculous, dumbed down, easily distracted by baubles culture to blame.

What do we do about that? I'm sure there are some people who would suggest wigs but ugh...

Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson said...

A fellow sticky-out hair person! Yay! Commraderie is a good thing when venturing out into the world, both in book-buzz longing and pond plopping.