The year: 2001
The place: Andover, Massachusetts
It was a cold and snowy night. Five high school seniors exhilarated by the prospect of spring break were out to dinner. Among the group: me and Heather.
Heather: “Hey guys, I think I want to color my hair before I leave for the Bahamas tomorrow.”
Me: “Oh, I can totally do it for you. Let’s go for highlights. It will look awesome.”
Heather: “Have you done it before?”
Me: “Totally.” Thought bubble: Well, how would one define “done it before?” I’ve seen it done before. That’s pretty close, right?
On to Sally Beauty for the beautifying agent then back to 9 Deerfield for a makeover where no parents or siblings are present for the whole night. Put the cap on her head, pull the strands through. Oops. That was a big strand of hair. No problem though. It’ll blend in I’m sure. Oops. Another big strand of hair. Good thing no one knows what I’m doing. Telephone rings. Our friend Alex needs to be picked up from school. And, Heather has just realized she does not have her passport with her. After an intensive search, Alex comes up empty handed at the dorm.
Me: “Alright, Woodin, here’s what we’re going to do. Let’s wrap your head in plastic wrap. We’ll book it down to school. You run in, get your passport, jump in the shower for a quick rinse, we’ll get Alex and be back at my house in no time.”
Heather: “Sounds good to me.”
Driving down the dark winding roads of the boonies we hit something. Crack. Shite. What was that?
Me: “Heather, that didn’t sound good. I’m just going to pull over really fast to make sure the car is okay.”
Get out of the car. Whoosh. Hiss. Shiiiiiite. We hit a crater size pothole and are now the proud owners of a flat tire. Okay, parents are not home. I have my friend in the car with her hair wrapped in saran wrap. It’s freezing cold and snowing out. Who to call? Think. Think. Wait, when I was in 5th grade, I remember a policeman coming to visit us at school. “Boys and girls, whenever you need help, just call 475-1212.” Andover’s finest. The po po. After a few minutes, a fine officer arrives. He calls for a tow truck to help us out. While I’m trying to grill him on the patrol practices of his counterparts and get the inside scoop on their favorite hideouts for trapping speeding teenagers, I hear the car door open and
Heather says: “Ummm, Kerryn, my head is really starting to burn.”
Me: “Woodin, go stick your head in the snow.” I shit you not. This exchange really happened this way. Word for word. Is anyone else shocked she’s still friends with me?!
Alright, tow truck driver shows up. And apparently this is the first time he has changed a tire. After jacking the car up, it slips out and the car falls on its front end. Awesome. After finally getting the spare tire on, we follow him 10 minutes down the road to an ATM machine. Meanwhile, Heather’s head doesn’t just feel like it’s burning, it actually smells that way, too. Eek. Okay, back to the house. Heather sprints upstairs faster than I’ve ever seen anyone run. Ten minutes later, she comes back down…with my dad’s baseball cap secured tightly over her head.
Heather: “I’m not taking it off. Kerryn, please take me to CVS so we can get a box of hair color.”
Me: “No, Heather, I’m not driving on the spare tire.” Once again, I kid you not. “Just take it off. It can’t be that bad.”
After much cajoling to no avail, we finally tackle her to the ground and pull the hat off. What’s revealed underneath is a MASSIVE white streak of hair on one side of her head (remember the oops moment at the beginning of this story? Yah, apparently pulling too much hair through the cap is not a good thing.) The rest is just a mix of freakish looking orange and white streaks. I still say it could have been worse. At least her hair didn’t fall out. Apparently that wasn’t much of a consolation prize because she didn’t seem to agree.
Fast forward to present day. I’ve been on the hunt for sun in for the last two months. Apparently Kiwis have not experienced its wonder. Very sad for them. And my hair is getting crazier by the day. Something must be done. Enter Heather.
Me: “Woodin, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but will you highlight my hair?”
Heather: “It would be my pleasure.”
And I swear I detected a slight smirk when she thought I wasn’t looking.
Off to The Warehouse which is probably like the equivalent of Walmart’s red headed step child.
Me: “Subtle blond highlights. This should work.”
Heather: “No, you should go for the lighter one. Definitely.” I swear she wanted to add a mwah haha at the end of the statement while drumming her fingers in a steeple-like fashion.
On to the hostel where we took over the common area with our toxic bleach fumes. We were very popular that night. Let me tell you. Actually, as I’m typing this, I might as well just tell you, there is no punchline to this story. As you’ve probably been able to tell, none of my stories have actual punchlines. I would say my stories are like the proverbial lump of coal in your stocking. It’s hanging over the fire place looking all tempting. You might get a little excited for what’s inside. After some build up, you poke your head in and… nothing. Part of me wishes I could tell you I had a massive white streak on the side of my head. That part is pretty small. Maybe even microscopic. But, alas, it actually looks relatively decent… I think. I still have this sneaking suspicion that there may be something in the back that I can’t see. Because when I came out of the shower and had a look of amazement on my face that it came out so well, heather seemed fairly quiet... or maybe she’s just bitter that she couldn’t even the bad hair color experience score. Although, I also need a hair cut, so there’s still time. She might be able to exact revenge for my friend Sophie whose hair I accidently hacked off in high school... another story for another time.