When a story really gels

I’ve not mentioned this, but work is busy. And this week, what arrived but a book, a whole book, for me to freelance copyedit. They wanted me to do that in a week, but I called that place and said YA TRYINA KILL ME? And now I have till the 17th.

The point is, when things get busy, I have some physical reactions, re-act-shuns, and that’s the story Ima tell you today.

So, for the last week, it’s been, you know, hectic at work. Stuff is coming at me before I even get there, then all day I think I know what I have to get done and that I’ve got it under control and then even more stuff comes my way.

We had a big meeting this week about how important it is that everything gets copy edited, yet there are still the same number of copy editors there, and mother of god.

And I agree, is the thing. Everything should get copy edited. So I can’t turn my back on my religion, there, even though it’s stressy.

Yesterday morning I was showering, and not at all thinking about all the things I had to do that day, when my bathroom door burst open. It was another one of those situations that let me know when a murderer really does burst in, Ima be frozen like a deer when your headlights are barreling toward it.

As someone was opening the doorknob, and I was recalling that I do, in fact, live alone, I stood naked and frozen in the shower. BOOM, went the door as it opened, and


went the universe, as Steely Dan stood in the threshold, paws victoriously on his hips. heeeer i be.

was thurstee

And go ahead. Notice that that bath rug should probably be exchanged for a cleaner one. My house is ludicrous right now, with the busy. Just last night I finally got sick of stepping over my open suitcase on the bedroom floor, and finally unpacked it all the way and put it away, in the closet. Those antlers had been staring at me judgmentally all week from the bowels of my case.

Anyway, all that cat wanted was to drink from the toilet, and he wanted it NOWWW, so he, you know, got on his hind legs and turned a crystal doorknob with his evil paws. As you do. When you’re thumbless.

The point is, that was the serene way I began my day, and it got better from there.

IMG_1526.jpgHere’s m’boss, fmr., and me, at a meeting yesterday. Apparently it was “Wear muted purple” day.

IMG_1523.jpgHere’s another coworker and me noting we have on similar shoes. Apparently it was “Wear pointy shoes” day.

Wait. Which?

Anyway, it was busy, which I believe I’ve mentioned, and if I DID pee all day, I don’t recall it, and the whole point of this story is it was 5:30 and I was getting ready to leave. I was at my car, in fact, with plans to go to the grocery store before going home. I  realized I needed to pee; went back in to do so.

It was then, finally, after a whole day of stressing, and knowing what happens to me when I’m stressing, that I looked in the mirror and




My hair.

My hair was insane. And no. I did not photograph it.

When you have ludicrous hair like mine, the latest thing is to use sulfate-free products, and to shampoo with conditioner (yes, it still has some cleansing agents), and so on. But every once in awhile you have to use a clarifying shampoo, because eventually your hair just gets kind of Rosie the Robot doing her impression of Miss Judy. The-Jetsons-and-Rosie-the-Robot.jpgDoes anyone remember that impression? Where she’s beleaguered and bent over and exhausted? I can’t find it online.

Anyway, yesterday morning I clarified, because what with the extra product that I used for making my Frida costume believable and so on, my hair was looking distinctly sad and hangdog.

And then when I was done clarifying, I realized, oh. I’m pretty much out of gel, the good gel, the sulfate-and-alcohol-free good gel, so I used this kind I hate. All that plus work stress, and my 5:30




with my hair. It wasn’t just big. It was big and frizzy. It was big and frizzy and was seriously lacking in, you know, any shape. When I stress, my hair stresses with me. Always has.

This art guy was still in his office when I left the bathroom. “All day I’ve been looking like this, and no one said anything about my, you know, hair looking like this.”

The art guy looked at my hair awhile. “They were being kind, I guess,” he surmised.

Last night I bought the good gel, and even tried to come home and wet it and USE said good gel, but I couldn’t even get my hands through my… angry bush, there. If you’ll forgive the disgusting imagery.

neeeedee commitee, um, sit heer. away from harr.

So that is why today, even though I don’t usually GET my hair wet two days in a row, I just got in the shower and began anew.

After all, tomorrow is another hair day.

Wish me luck.

34 thoughts on “When a story really gels

  1. What a day. I feel you, man. My days are always like that–I just go where I am pulled. And things that don’t pull me? PILE UP. The grading that I haven’t gotten to is going to have to go house hunting soon. There is no more room in the inn, is what I am saying.

    So, this is off topic, but I am curious. I read your title after I had just finished a stack of papers from my comp class. It was a metacognitive reflection, and part of it was to tell me what they are most proud of in their writing. MANY of them said that their personal narratives were their proudest accomplishment. Of course, I think of you when I think of this. You are the guru of the personal narrative. But what I am really curious about is if you ever write fiction. I would love to hear why or why not. You know, when you have time to ponder such things.

    Steely Dan is lucky to be alive. That’s all.

    Lovely post, lovely June!


  2. Curly hair man. I ran out of my good curly products too and tried some co- wash from the grocery. Along with the drizzly rainy day it was not a good combo.
    Lovely post June.


  3. 1. My cats have thumbs, but are barely smart enough to figure out how to open a door. One seems to understand doorknobs like I understand quantum physics – it’s a thing that exists to do a thing, but don’t ask me to use it.

    2. I have not been able to wash my hair in the past decade without thinking back to your post where you asked how long it takes for everyone’s hair to get completely wet. I never take a clock to measure, but it always seems to take half of the time I’m in the shower.


  4. I live in a very dry part of the country. Not as dry as Denver, but Boise is close. My hair gets frizzy in humid climates, frizzy without the curls, like unappetizing cotton candy. I spent two weeks in West Africa when dh was doing a volunteer stint there. You know it’s bad when the local Ghanaian women are commenting on your hair with pitying smiles.


  5. Kenra hairspray adheres to my hair like a coat of plastic. I hardly ever use it, but when I do, I clarify, shampoo, rinse, shampoo, rinse, clarify, co-wash. I need to give that crap away. My coworker uses it and swears by it. Here I am talking about me. Good luck with the busy!


  6. We had to change most of the door handles in our house because one cat learned how to pull the handle. More than one heart attack was had.


  7. I quickly scrolled through comments to see if anyone asked where you found those shoes and I don’t see a question. So, here I am asking.


  8. Something there is that doesn’t love a closed door. (I had to google the original reference, apparently it’s from a Robert Frost poem.) Our cat pushes open the bathroom door every morning (the doorknob doesn’t catch properly) when my daughter is in there showering. I hear “Mom, could you please close the bathroom door?” regularly because she hates to lose the steamy heat.
    I’ll bet there were lots of people at your office that thought your hair looked fabulous and were envious rather than aghast. I still love your hair, pretty froot.


  9. “Wry and unhelpful” is in the art guy job description.

    Maybe your friends surmised that you couldn’t remedy the hair situation at work and therefore didn’t bother you about it. Bothering should be saved for poppyseeds and tags sticking up from the neckline in back and that time in college when a girl didn’t realize her shirt had unbuttoned itself down to the waist. (Fortunately it was a small meeting, and no, it wasn’t me. Honest.)


  10. I envy you curly-haired and/or thickly tressed people. I have to carefully arrange my few hairs and then spray them into immobility. Rainy, damp day? Disaster. Windy day? Disaster. Even an attractive hat doesn’t help. I am CURSED.


  11. From another curly person, I know your pain. I always tell people I cross my fingers and hope for the best each morning because it’s going to do whatever it wants most of the time.


  12. “They were being kind, I guess,” he surmised.

    This comment just kills me!!!! Whaaaa haaaa haa! Poor art guy.


  13. My cubicle next door neighbor came to work one day with no eye makeup. She is a fastidious sort. I debated, but eventually asked if there was a reason why she didn’t have eye makeup on. She stopped like a deer in the headlights, grabbed a mirror from her purse, looked at herself, looked up at me and said “Oh shit! I’ll be right back!” I laughed the entire time she was gone. She came back about a half hour later and profusely thanked me.


  14. My cat is very long, so he can easily stretch up snd open most doors. I bet SD is opening doors in the neighborhood, a practicing Cat Burgler. I am impressed that he can open a crystal door knob as it has a multiple slanted surface. He obviously is a “master door opener-upper.” Nice photos!


  15. Cats do not like closed doors! My late cat, Mercedes, used to come barreling up to a door and leap at it with all of her (considerable) body weight to slam it open. Scared me to death the first couple of times she did that but I got used to her way of entering a room. Great post Jooon. Hope your weekend is less stressy.


  16. He stretched up that high and used his velvety pawses? I love that cat. Digging your muted purple shoes. The other day I got out of the shower and realized I had forgotten to condition my hair, so I put just a little through it without rinsing because I did not want to get back in the shower. That was not a good idea, it made my hair sticky and unbrushable for the 24 hrs.


  17. My hair also shows the stress. It’s not purdy. Also too, I found the guy in the tennis shoes in your matching show picture hilarious. It’s probably just me. Hairs to a better hair day today, Joon. Oh, and SD would have terrified me!


  18. Steely Dan is amazing! Now if someone really does barge into your bathroom, will you assume it’s SD or will you still be a panicked deer?

    I will always tell people if they have something wrong that they can take care of right there (inside out shirt, poppy seed in their teeth) but if they are having an unfortunate hair day or wore two different shoes I don’t mention it.


  19. Im the same when something happens to me, I freeze, perfect victim.
    I realized yesterday that I’m brave when there’s danger to my son. A big German Sheppard ran up to my son and barked at him and without even thinking I jumped in front of him and got all alpha bitch on that dog and it ran off.
    I hope you have a better hair day and a better, less stressful work day today!


  20. “neeeedee commitee, um, sit heer. away from harr.” Snort! And the expressions on their faces.

    The bathroom door opening would have made my heart stop. Didn’t you just want to choke his little neck?


  21. Being too busy sucks! Hope things calm down soon, including your hair!
    I believe the Jetsons episode you speak of is the one where Rosie gets a boyfriend and when she can’t see him she’s all droopy and whiny. I think Judy is in love with a boy in that one too. I am making the Rosie noise right now and the cats are looking at me strangely. As if they didn’t do that all the time anyway.


  22. Angry bush – BAH!

    SD will not be denied.

    I love when I realize something ridiculous had been going on all day – like my shirt was inside out or I wore two different shoes – and not one soul mentioned it. Do they just not notice me? Because true kindness would be “what’s up with the hair, sister?”

    Love this lovely post June!


    1. “Led,” not “lead.” You’re welcome. (Ducks liver. [Not duck’s liver, though; I’m a vegetarian.])

      You’re so pretty, Jooooon!


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