The little gray squirrel watched as I pulled the car in the garage. Suddenly hanging from the stucco was not as much fun as the possibility of a nut or other morsel.  Off to the front door.  While little gray had not, as yet,  established a personal relationship, he was determined to formally introduce himself and beg properly.  He must have caught a glimpse of me as I passed through the kitchen.  Hard to resist a “Stuart Little” face like his.

Gray squirrels in this part of Florida have a lot of competition.  There are a variety of varieties of squirrels.  There are a few red squirrels, some black and some Sherman’s Fox Squirrels.  The Sherman’s Fox are golf course gym rats who sit by the tee boxes and greens in  wild anticipation.  Once you leave the cart, away they go, climbing up in to the vehicle to snatch a zip-loc bag of almonds, nabs, or a peanut butter sandwich.  Often, they have helpers. Working in tandem with the crows, they can pick a cart clean of food, dangling things or shiny objects in the few short minutes it takes to putt out.  The Sherman Fox looks like a cross between a monkey and a Siamese cat and is about half again as big as the gray. He is handsome, cute and engaging.

I however, sympathize with the gray squirrel.  Sometime last year, I decided to give up coloring my hair in hopes that what seemed to lie beneath would be somewhat attractive. And, save me a boat load of money.    Since, well forever, I have been coloring my hair.  Born a blonde, the color quickly  faded to a color they (the pretty girls) refer to as “Ash Blonde”.  Some of the more honest, mean girls in high school called it “dish water blonde”.  I would describe it as an invisible color.  It never had the richness of auburn, or dark brown, or black.  Today, few would know what dishwater meant, but, let’s just say, in the day,  I would “Get the Sun In, or Summer Blonde, or peroxide and jazz it up !”  And, so I have for most of my adult life.

The new silvery/golden me has taken a good 18 months to evolve.  My stylist was not happy, initially.  But, after nearly 17 years of  cuts and color every 5-6 weeks, we have developed an understanding,  I get an idea and then I get over it, or she fixes it, or she spins the chair around and takes control.   She’s been gentle with this phase, but I know that she will soon have to add some high/low lights or something so I can look somewhat presentable at my niece’s wedding in a few weeks.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the importance of your hair dresser in your life in his book, Tipping Point, and I know that mine (Diane) is important to me.  Beautician, movie advisor, quiet listener, easy conversationalist and occasional consoler.  All that in 50 minutes… it’s for Beauty.  (Or so they tell you when you pay the bill, just so you won’t faint)  After 50, you have to add  the aesthesticisian, and they deserve that big title.  Larry, who discreetly yanks wild, wiry hairs from my chins (yes, chins) and upper lip, eyebrows and etc. .  Poor guy who earns every cent of that tip.

So, what is my point?  Maybe it is that while the Sherman Fox Squirrel has a more distinctive coat, the gray squirrel can be equally engaging.  While my outer image is an important example on how I feel about myself, it is not all that is me.  It is  what is inside that I want to express.  I am not a grayscaled lady, but a defiant gray haired one.



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