Monday, February 11, 2008

Peace-Out, Dawg-Mon: Or Misspent Time in Jamaica

Nancy and I just returned from our first (and probably last!) Caribbean. I did not find shipboard life nearly as restful or romantic as I hoped -- I've been back in Indiana almost 24 hours and still don't have my landlegs. The whole world is rocking and rolling.

Which was the main part of the reason for the trip -- to be musically involved with Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, the Duhks, Patty Griffin, and more. That part -- the music -- was very fun. The time asea was less so (for me).

On a day trip to Jamaica, which was very cool, I did something sort of out-of-character. I got my hair beaded. Okay, so it's more out of the realm of possibility than character -- having so little hair! But I thought it'd be fun -- plus it'd freak out my good friend Tim (who's also my boss).
Here are somethings I learned about having your hair braided.
  1. It hurts! Maybe if you have more hair, it doesn't hurt so much, but my "hairdresser" really had to yank to braid my hair together and put the beads on. So, to my sisters who wore braids in the 50s and 60s, well, Kathleen, Linda, and Julie, now I know why you look so squinty-eyed in those pictures!

  2. People on ships think it's cool. Especially women. It was fun having attractive young ladies come up to me and admire the braids and say things like "Cool," "Neat," "Rad," and "That's just adorable." Of course, that latter one made me feel like a kitten or puppy. Especially since Nancy was standing there trying not to laugh! I guess part of the adorableness was the fact that I'm old, gray, and very married. I'm "cute," I guess, in that way.

  3. People in on land don't know what to think. Nobody at the airport said anything about it. Nor at the car rental place. Nor at the eateries we visited.

  4. People in Indiana really don't know what to think. Some folks at work thought it was a hoot. Others seemed mightily embarrassed -- for me and them. Tim, my aforesaid boss, was a good sport. He welcomed me back and then almost -- emphasis on almost -- swallowed his teeth when he saw the braids, but then continued on with the welcoming. He was happy to hear they were being cut off tonight (before a book-sigining at the office tomorrow with lots of VIPs).
Wearing them reminded me that appearances really do matter -- too much so. We (and I mean "I") judge too many people -- their intellect, depth, humanity, spirituality, ability, worth -- by how they look and what they wear. I was a bit hurt by those who acted liked nothing was different about me -- when it was so obvious that there was. And was lifted by those who laughed along with the joke I was playing on myself.

Those things along were worth the price of braiding -- physically and fiscally!
PS -- The picture above was taken at work. Mr. Old Preppy whose rep tie strips match his beads!


cath said...

You said: "People in Indiana really don't know what to think."

Actually, people in my urban Indiana neighborhood would just take this in stride. We Hoosier may be hipper than you think. ;)

As for braids hurting--ask anyone who has them and they will no doubt say yes!

Now I'm inspired to step out of my comfort zone. Waht will it be-- a tatto? :)


Brent Bill said...

Okay, you caught me making a generalization. ;-) I plead guilty and do know that there are places here where my hairstyle would be welcome. Still, I did find it interesting how people acted like nothing was different even when it so obviously was.

I doubt that I'll ever go the tatoo route. Braids were painful enough -- don't want to get stuck w/ needles filled with ink!