Lock-free at last

P1000378Today felt a lot like Christmas. Except  Santa came bearing scissors and hair color.

Yes, today  I got to see Kristen, at Color Me Krazy.  Today I got  a haircut.

More precisely, I guess, I got my hair de-COVID’ed.

The angst began building since shortly after  lockdown (um, pun intended, if just realized). I began worrying about it in a post way back then.

First it was the trashy reddish  cast  — an alarmingly Trump-esque mix of brown, orange and gray. Then came the split ends. And the Betty Rubble-like flips at the bangs and bottom.

Every morning brought a new look, a new permutation of the evolving variables. Some days it didn’t look bad. Other days were just plain frightening.

My hair was the harbinger of things to come, and it wasn’t pretty.

I was turning feral. Devolving into some wild creature,  with not just this mane of matted orange hair, but ragged clawlike nails, jagged teeth, wrinkled and buttonless clothing,  no social skills and eventually thoughts expressed only through barks and yips.

The good news was there was plenty of company in this misery. In fact, your mind may have gone down a similar path.

Just about any interaction with another woman included a cry for help re: hair or nails.  So, I knew that when – if ever – we got out of quarantine, stylists and other personal grooming professionals would be inundated.

So I knew getting an appointment would be like getting tickets for Foo Fighters or the Pope and put in my request – my plea – in for a spot with Kristen as soon as I saw a glimmer of Phase-whatever  on the horizon.

When Kristen finally called three weeks ago,  when I saw the number on my caller ID, I began to hear the first strains of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like —“ well,, you know.   Could I come on the 23rd? Yes I said immediately.   I could come any day, any time, even if I had tickets for the Pope.

Today was the day. But  as we all know now, even when businesses can open, it’s hardly business as usual. I’d been wondering what to expect. You may be, too. It’s unusual. An adventure. My experience went like this:

First, the standard-by-now sign outside the establishment, saying to stay away until we were beckoned in.

20200623_100637Once past the door, Kristen  turned to face me      (well, face-mask me).  Her eyes were smiling but she was wielding this thing – it looked like some sort of spray can –    aiming the spray part right at me.  My heart jumped a little as she closed in, heading straight for my  own masked face,   explaining  that she was taking my temperature.

The thing never actually touched my forehead – I figured it was because I’d begun radiating heat in fear. No, it was just a fancier version of the thermometer  every salon is required to use if they wanted to reopen.

The COVID-proofing continued.

First there was the questionnaire, asking if I had any of the by-now all-too-familiar  litany of symptoms indicative of COVID.   It also listed the many practices Kristen et al had implemented to keep everyone  safe — including the big bottle of  sanitizer available  for hands after they touched the writing implement.

P1000374The main room of the salon itself had the social-distancing blue-tape X’s on the floor, and work stations have been pared down to two. Only one customer per stylist at a time.

The salon products were all corralled into one section, protected from germy hands by a sandwich sign advising clients to ask a stylist for help.

While I sat letting the hair color do its de-Trumpification, Kristen got me coffee. I drank it in furtive sips through a barely-lifted face mask when nobody was within six feet.  I read the signs around her mirror.P1000385

She washed the dye out of my hair.

She said the color looked good. I don’t know how she can tell – well, that’s why she’s the poohbah. To me, it just looks wet-color.

Meanwhile, back at the chair…

“You did need a haircut,” Kristen said nodding at the jagged ends between her fingers.  Snip!Snip!Snip! they fell like heads on guillotine day.

“It feels like Christmas,” I observed.

“Yeah, I had someone else say that to me,” Kristen said, smiling – at least I’m pretty sure she was — beneath the mask.

“OK, Miss Jill, you’re done.” The scissoring stopped.

I looked at my wet hair.  ”I am?”

I knew she couldn’t blow dry it. There was a rule.  So I got out of the chair and paid her and left so the next person could come in and have her audience with Santa.

I felt a bit of the denouement that comes right after the big event.  Maybe a little remorseful about my ruthlessness. It was, after all, still my hair, doing the best it could. Actually not looking so bad, at times, during isolation. I mean, it could have all just fallen out, right?

And really,  it had taught me a few things

  • to remember there was a time before stylists existed
  • that human beings can get used to just about anything
  • and what was so bad about going feral, anyway?

I also reminded myself there were always new surprises and watershed events ahead — especially these days.

For one thing, the upcoming  hair saga sequel, “The Blow-Dry,” when I got home.

And then, God, I can’t believe I’m even writing this: my dentist appointment – a mere month and a half away.

Looking forward to the dentist?

Ah, well, such is life in the land of COVID…


#COVID19 #humanconnection #stayingpositive #haircut #lifestyle #beauty #staysafe

Getting hired in a pandemic

jobtableauI’m getting fingerprinted today!

And photographed!

And background-checked!

I’m getting a job with the US Census Bureau!

I got conditionally hired just as COVID was ramping up in late March, just before isolating become a widely used gerund and a widely enforced official order.
Even as I got that initial call, and was answering the questions about having transportation and  willingness to work odd hours,  I was thinking, ‘Why are they asking me these things? I can’t possibly knock on doors and talk to people when everyone is scared and everyone who talks to anyone anywhere seems to fall ill and/or die.’fingerprint1

The census was, of course, postponed. Like everything else.

But last week I got an email, telling me the census bureau was up and rockin’. Or at least that I needed to hurry up and get my fingerprints taken.

That’s why today I’m off to an Office Depot where apparently they do such things. I have never seen anyone fingerprinted there, never heard anyone say, “I’d like these three reams of paper,  a new office chair, and a set of fingerprints, please.”

Fingerprints are just a part of the process, as the four pages of instructions reminded me. Lots of musts and do’s and don’t’s. Lots of potholes if you didn’t read the minutiae.


Like two forms of “current (not expired nor canceled)  ID.

No  problem, I thought, smugly. Yesterday. I figured passport and NYS driver’s license. Till this morning, when my husband pointed out my driver’s license expired on my birthday a couple of weeks ago.

“They’ll probably accept it,” he said of the now no


n-current license. “They’ll understand that you couldn’t renew it cause the Department of Motor Vehicles was shut down because of COVID.”

“Yeah, but it’s the government. They have their rules,” I answered, considering my license an undone deal and shifting gears to my birth certificate. Which, for some other official pre-employment gymnastics. I’d already gotten.

PI found that, and a marriage certificate. and hoped for the best.

I also wondered about the official Badge Photography for the job.

The instructions enumerated that I couldn’t wear glasses, or a hat or head covering, or headphones (“oh, no, I’ve had my headphones permanently grafted to my ears!”).

But most perplexing was: ‘Your full face must be visible and no items should obscure your hairline or cast shadows on your face.”

But … what about … The Mask? Of course, I didn’t want a Badge Photo of me wearing a mask — although that’s probably what I will look like the whole time I’m knocking on doors for this temporary gig.

Yet I’ve been trained to wear a mask in public.   It’s not fun, but I think it’s the right — the respectful, considerate, and safest  — thing to do.

Now I was being told not to wear it?

Well, happily, this morning I got the revised-for-COVID instructions, which told me to keep my mask on till it came time to take the photo.

Other COVID  precautions?

“Thoroughly wash with soap and water and dry your hands completely before your appointment,” which I will certainly do, since I have a sink and a wetbar in my car. “Avoid shaking hands or touching others after you wash your hands.” Damn, I wanted to touch all mtiltedprint2.jpgy friends at Office Depot….

And the government is apparently conducting  these pre-employment  screenings like my vet (she was first) and doctors organize F2F, 3D encounters: the no-wait waiting room. I  call from my car outside Office Depot, tell them I’m here, and wait to be invited in.

More enigmatic was: “Inform the fingerprint operator when you are ready for your appointment.” No phone number or special secret signal at the front door….

I think COVID has asked all of us to sharpen our intuition and to our thought-projecting skills.  Really, you can’t see a person’s whole face in person, or their body language. And ZOOMing, etc, takes away a lot of the vibe-feeling.

Anyway, I’m quite sure that COVID, combined with the mystical aspects of yoga that I’ve been learning lately, have prepared me to inform other people that I am ready for an appointment without any intermediary — i.e., a phone call, a text, a smoke signal.
“My prints are ready for their close-up!”

Well, it’s time to go. Wish me luck. I really could use an income.





A simple gesture of peace

So if you’ve been sitting around your house feeling distant, disparate, dissociated, detached — helpless about all the hideousness and hate and chaos that seems to be flying around the world today, I just thought of something:


Holly Joy at Shaker Smoothies in Washingtonville is “all about peace.”

A gesture.

Been hanging out with my tribe at the Body Art Barn, which is still off limits, but we’ve been doing safe social distance yoga and satsang (talking, but in a sanskrit sorta way) outside in back. And we are all so frustrated about the outpourings of hatred, and we are all so hoping, for the outpouring of the peace we all believe will be the one thing, the important thing, and the true thing to get us through.

In our little circle.

But of course, it only takes one person to be a group, or start a revolution.

And I’m telling you this because with my peeps, my tribe at the barn, my fellow yogis in the yoga teacher trainer program, there is acceptance. There is hope. There is a fervent belief in what the spirit can do.  There’s a lot of “yes.” Yes about the future, yes about being ourselves, yes about ideas.

Mostly, we want kindness, and peace, and unity, to catch on.

So we were leaving today and as a fellow yogi, in the car in front of me, made a left in front of me, and went on her way home, I waved her a goodbye.

In the form of a peace sign.

What? Where did that come from?

OK, a sixties thing. But things got pretty hippie-headed in our yoga class today. Michelle, our yoga  poohbah, is a full-blown, self-confessed hippie chick.

I was, but never painted my face, had flowers in my hair, or wanted to be called a hippie chick.

I just was all for peace.

A FedEx driver pulled over, flashed a peace sign back!

Now, I don’t care. Call me whatever. There is nothing funny, or weird, about peace love and understanding.

So I guess something inside pulled out a good old hippie-esque peace sign to flip.

After which, I thought: ‘Well, this would be good. ‘

So I started flipping the two-finger peace sign on the country road on my way home. I saw a couple of quizzical looks, and one or two drivers smile.

Then I went into town and flipped it. And people started flippin’ it back.

A  FedEx guy.

Holly Joy, the owner of Shaker Smoothies, outside her store. Who said she is “all about peace.”

They remembered.

They smiled.

Maybe they’ll pass it along.

It’s easy. Don’t just cross your fingers and hope for peace. Next time you’re driving, stick your hand out the window, and flash a peace sign to anyone. And everyone.

In times like these, it could be a very healing gesture.

#COVID19 #peace #love #hope #humanconnection #stayingpositive #givepeaceachance





A sign for these nail-biting times

20200528_150806 (1)Corinne Courtney puts her heart and soul into Nailed It, the hardware store she  established  in our  little town of Washingtonville, N.Y., in 2015. I  know this because when I interviewed her for a story when I worked at the Times Herald Record  last year, her dedication was palpable.   She thinks hard about everything aspect of her business, from where she sources the hardware she stocks to how she can good for the community.

That thoughtfulness isn’t confined to her retail and workshop space.  Its spills out to the building’s facade (kind of a misnomer here) where she regularly  extends   an uplifting or encouraging message to passers- and driversby.20200528_150654

She does think for quite a while about what she wants to convey there. So when I drove by and saw her latest writing on the wall, I had to pull over.

Perfect for this pivotal, and very nerve-wracking, moment in time.

She nailed it.