This is a Sunday Scribblings post where the prompt was 'Hair'.
Today my friend is wearing her hair up, which accentuates her eyes. A little loose bit not caught up in a black butterfly clip at the back, moves when her head moves.
She says that she is feeling her age.
We are both the same age - which is of an age where we are about to be (if not already) sidelined by those much younger.
After reaching forty, age becomes a 'thing.' Younger people are often puzzled at how much we older people mention age in conversation. Don't they realise how much it is a crisis of confidence?
After the age of forty, we can no longer rely on youth to get away with things. From now on it's all up to our wits and whatever wiles we have managed to acquire in those forty years. Until then we have managed to get along (just as young people are still doing) buoyed by the feeling that we own the world.
In a restaurant down on Dunedin's quiet (read: deserted) waterfront, we drink coffee and look out at the harbour view.
The sun's retreat leaves a fat shadow over the peninsula hills.
We agree that we are lucky. We aren't going to be jailed for writing or speaking against the government. We don't have to think about where our next meal is going to come from. We don't have enemies.
I think about how I probably should be more of a political animal. Greenhouse gases spring to mind. I salve my conscience with the thought that after my coffee ... I briefly wonder if it is a politically correct brand ... I am walking back home.
I don't mention it to my friend, but today I'm having an unwashed, funny-hair day.
Why is it, I wonder, that if I don't wash my hair every day I feel less than human? And yet I remember that as a child, our family only ever had a bath on Saturday night. Daily showers were something Hollywood actresses had and only became part of my life in the late seventies - or even later. I can't actually recall the exact time. Yet we survived. We weren't too rank. Maybe all this cleanliness has got a little out of hand. Would my carbon footprint be smaller if I washed less?
My friend tells me her husband went through a stressful time in his early forties and his hair began to go grey. Then when circumstances changed and the stress lessened, the grey hair grew out. I don't know how grey I actually am because I keep it covered. Even from myself.
My friend and I say good-bye. She's off to RPM classes and I'm walking home. I apply chap-stick on my lips and pull a red, possum-fur beret over my head. Possum-fur clothing may be an alarming thought to some, but it must be remembered that possums are a notifiable pest because they chomp through our native trees and plants.
There is a sharp, bitter wind. As I stride into it, I have to keep freeing wisps of my hair after they get stuck on my chap-sticked lips.