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One-way ticket on the Grey-found bus

April 19, 2012

While sitting on the toilet the other day, I found my first grayish-white hair. On my head, you pervs.

I resisted the urge to lament my misspent youth. And my misspent 20s. And my misspent $30 on that perpetually full Brita pitcher with a fancy green lid! built-in electronic filter indicator! and comfort-grip handle! that I bought because this time will be different that has failed to shame me into drinking more water and instead has become a 10-cup measuring device of my dyed-in-the-wool dehydration. Because this time was, in fact, not different.

No, instead of allowing that rogue hair to catapult me into a crisis, I felt a solidarity with my gray cats. After nine years together, I’m slowly, strand by strand, starting to look like Teva and Isabel. Or possibly Bonnie Raitt, with her bitchin’ white streak. Either way, I’m fine with it. Sort of.

Isabel was born this gray. #ladygaga

The weird thing about this lone light hair amid my auburn locks is that it’s pure white at the tip, but as it wends its way toward my scalp, the turncoat turns back to red at the root — the Little Gray Hair That Couldn’t. I’m not sure what it all means, but I’m guessing it’s some sort of metaphor for my life. Even my hair is apparently wishy-washy, indecisive and can’t follow through. Awesome, my hair is insulting me.

The other night at work I couldn’t locate the wayward follicle and started to wonder whether I’d been mistaken. Perhaps it was just a cautionary tale, a message from The Ghost of Gray Yet to Come telling me I’m meant to do more than just tweeze the day. That’s when my co-worker Melanie and her 20/20 vision accepted the challenge. Her eyes narrowed to slits as she hunted, like a lioness ready to pounce on a gazelle who’s going gray. “Ah ha! Found it!” she gloated. “It’s *so* wiry.” She’s very helpful.

A few days later while I was washing my face in the shower, I wiped the shampoo suds from my eyes only to find an albino eyelash at the tip of my ring finger. Which, technically, is just a finger, because it bears no engagement or wedding ring. Constant reminder.

One gray hair I was prepared to gracefully accept. But two? This is all happening so fast.

I channeled kneecapped ice princess Nancy Kerrigan circa 1994 and shower-cried “WWHHHHHY? WWHHHHHY?” Then I remembered that she went on to win the silver medal. Silver — the official color of second place. And the elderly. And linings for the unbearably optimistic. Evoking Nancy Kerrigan suddenly didn’t seem like such a sterling idea.

My gray hairs are proof that my gray heirs and I aren’t getting any younger. It seems as if it was only yesterday I brought Teva and Isabel home in a cardboard box with air holes. This past year, we finally started to show our ages as we each had minor health scares: I developed complications with my practically prehensile tail, Isabel suffered a brief injury, and Teva did her best Telly Savalas impersonation by licking herself bald. Innocence lost. As an aside, I take issue with the vet for always calling Isabel “Chunkers.” That is not her name. And she’s obviously big-boned. 

The camera adds 10 pounds. Shut up.

Entering this gray area forces me to think about our — my and my cats, although I’m sure you’re lovely — mortality. But I just can’t imagine my life without these girls. And I can’t imagine theirs without me. That’s why I’ve decided we’re all becoming vampires. Seems foolproof.

Without Teva and Isabel, this blog would just be called “Alone.” No one wants to read that. And if I’m not around to cater to their beck and call, all their intensive training of me would have been for naught. They’ve spent most of the past decade pussy-whipping me into putting the toilet lid down so they can repurpose it as a launch pad, keeping windows open even in subzero temperatures and leaving the bathroom sink on at a steady trickle pretty much at all times because their water dish is dead to them.

Honestly, none of us has any use for that Brita pitcher. Worse purchase ever.

The lap of luxury.

**********************************************************

You remember Blogologues, the New York City comedy show that performs hilarious material verbatim from the interwebs and sometimes stages my writing? Yeah. Me too. Good times. It’s happening again, kittens. “Blogologues: Younger Than Springtime” is running now every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through May 5 at the Players Loft in the west village. If you really love me, you’ll see it. And yes, that’s what date-rapists say. I should probably be in PR.

40 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2012 4:47 AM

    I DO have a Bonnie Rait streak in my pubes! I thought for a minute you and I were vaginal twinsies. Alas, you’re twinsies with another pussy.

    BLOGOLOGUES!

  2. iampisspot permalink
    April 19, 2012 4:54 AM

    One grey hair? Pfffffffffff. I have shit-loads. The other day, my girlfriend helpfully pointed out that soon, I won’t need to pay for blonde highlights, as the ‘grey kinda looks blonde anyway’.

    Awesome.

  3. April 19, 2012 6:27 AM

    If your hair is red at the root and gray at the tip, that means you’re a tabby. Congratulations.

    Getting my first gray hair didn’t bother me. Getting my second gray hair didn’t bother me. But the day that I looked in the mirror and was able to see half a dozen gray hairs without having to put any effort into looking for them was very traumatic.

    Oh, and my mom taught me long ago what to say to that date-rapist line: if you really loved me, you’d move Blogologues to the west coast.

    • April 19, 2012 7:58 AM

      If you really loved me you’d move it to Australia

    • April 19, 2012 2:25 PM

      Calico! Of course. I should have thought of that. But, uh, it’s kind of important for me to be a tortie. I should probably talk to a vet about this.

  4. April 19, 2012 7:11 AM

    i had a LOT of gray in my 30’s. kept the ‘skunk stripe’ up front, left a lot of it all over the rest for a nice salt-n-peppa schtick – and helped my hair stylist buy her first home, for all the money i spent working that shit. turned 40, painted it all back to a semi-natural brown, and haven’t looked back. when the pubes started to turn? i was appalled… and am now helping a lovely young woman finance her wedding through regular visits to her to remove the offending follicles. it’s not gray hair. it’s a life-line for an important subset of the service economy.

  5. April 19, 2012 8:46 AM

    You have two grays. I feel so bad for you. NOT! I have like 30, and I’m 30 years old. Sorry for the outburst. I’m just upset because I turn 31 in a few months, and I’m sure that means 31 gray hairs.

    Please tell the Blogologues to extend one more day. I’m going up to NYC May 6th.

    • May 1, 2012 6:47 PM

      You guys are amateurs. I’m NOT EVEN 30 yet and I have, like, thousands of grey hair. I have to dye it black to match my cat – who’s slowly stressing herself grey to match me.

  6. April 19, 2012 8:55 AM

    Pshaw all you babes! I found my first grey hair at 23. It’s been downhill ever since. I have a “rocking” white stripe–which I didn’t know was rocking until I saw Bonnie Raitt also has one!. I have been sans hair coloring for over a year now and am quite happy. Now the awful terrible no good haircut I got six weeks ago is another story…

    Oh, and you are absolutely twinsies with that adorable cat!

    ps White eyebrows are worst of all.

  7. April 19, 2012 9:14 AM

    I gotta tell you, I started getting those bitch gray hairs pretty early (as far as I was concerned) in my twenties, but now I just see one, pluck it, and verbally abuse it as I toss it into the trash. I’m sure that speaks volumes about my stability and whatnot. And I always wanted to age gracefully, so I feel like the string of obscenities really helps that.

    Oh, and “sterling idea”? Well played, ma’am.

  8. Cle permalink
    April 19, 2012 9:40 AM

    My cat Chunks also refuses to drink from his water bowl. He prefers the bottom of the shower, or, when he’s really wanting to prove a point and drive the guilt home, the toilet. I fill the sink for him too.

  9. April 19, 2012 10:34 AM

    One of our cats likes to wash her hands [paws?] in one of the water bowls before drinking from the other. She also eats paper. I think she’s got Alzheimers.

    I’ve heard that couples start to look alike the longer they’ve been together. I guess that must work for polygomous groupings like yours, too.

  10. April 19, 2012 10:45 AM

    two gray hairs? two gray cats? pshaw.

  11. Luda Kristen permalink
    April 19, 2012 11:51 AM

    ‘Alone’ has a nice ring to it, actually. Better than ‘Cat Lady with a side of Poop’ which is my new working blog title.

  12. tlkaply permalink
    April 19, 2012 11:55 AM

    Dude, I just had to buy bifocals, Official Eyewear of the Aged. And why the hell don’t your cats have a water fountain? It’s the first thing mine forced me to purchase.

    • April 19, 2012 2:27 PM

      Dude, they had a fountain when they were younger. It was their first Hanukkah present. But the pull of the sink was too strong.

    • Jessica permalink
      April 19, 2012 4:03 PM

      Dude I just got Bifocals too. Holla! Oh, I mean,…Get of my lawn!

  13. April 19, 2012 1:43 PM

    Shut up! I have like a million grey hairs and you’re upset about two? Girlllll, two ain’t nothing.

    Ps. Isabel needs diet kitty cat food.

  14. April 19, 2012 2:07 PM

    I spit my Diet Red Bull through my nose reading this. First off, seriously, cry me a river on the two grey hairs thing. I have an amazing colorist that keeps my strawberry blonde locks intact, but it’s a battle. I gave up on the gravity wars some time back.

    Our animals are extensions of us, but really, we exist to pay their mortgage/rent and to pay homage to their greatness. Your cats will be around a long, long time to remind you of this. A much bigger concern for you is why you haven’t bought your cats a water fountain? Other cats have them, so yours should too. On an unrelated note, in considering statistical mortality issues for cats, think you can rule out “starvation” as a risk to Isabel.

  15. April 19, 2012 3:06 PM

    I dunno. I feel like if you renamed your blog “Alone… Without Cats,” you might gain a lot of male readers.

    • April 19, 2012 3:09 PM

      This is true. But isn’t it sort of nice knowing for sure that you’re one of only three male readers now? I’d hate to strip you of that honor.

      • April 30, 2012 10:31 PM

        I suppose that WOULD be a bit disappointing…

  16. April 19, 2012 3:40 PM

    I really enjoy your wordplay. Very clever and fun! I

  17. April 19, 2012 3:45 PM

    Oops! Technical difficulties.

    I…would definitely keep reading your blog even it it were just “Alone” but I would never wish that situation on you. In other words, I think you should go with the vampire idea.

    • Jessica permalink
      April 19, 2012 4:04 PM

      I wouldn’t wish it on her either…however, on ME it looks like (to be read in Oprah’s voice) FREEDOOOOMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Jessica permalink
    April 19, 2012 4:15 PM

    Yeah i think its like a cosmic joke of some kind that you are sad to be alone, and I am gleefully rubbing my palms together at the thought of all the freedom I’ll have once I’m alone.

    Alone, sweet aloneness… I am so sad that something I dedicated myself to, someone I loved so hard and well for so long, didn’t end up working out….my ONE consolation is I’M FREE. FREE

    GOWHEREIWANTDOWHATIWANT NO MORE INFERNAL NAGGING QUESTIONING SECONDGUESSING FREE! FREE! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAA. AH GOD, The questions, they will not stop. “Well why are you doing that that way?” “Well what if that;s not right” “You’re going outside? But it’s raining outside!”, Did (insert name of some person that is not me) do this, that or the other thing they were supposed to do?”

    How the fuck would I know? For the love of all that is holy and the nine hundredth time…ask that fucking person!

    “Well gosh you don’t have to get so upset about it!”

    FREE! So long passive aggression. So long, emotional neglect. So long, neuroses! See you around, reruns of everybody loves raymond. Mama’s free to roam!

    Wow. Thanks for letting me share that in the privacy of your blog comments. I have no other outlet right now.

  19. April 19, 2012 4:26 PM

    Oh the days of no white hairs to haunt me… yeah let’s face it, that was in my teens. I hate genes sometimes. My hairdresser loves my genes… and their bank balance. Sigh.

    I have an agreement with my vet, my big guy is just big boned (and has a speed dial to the pizzeria or at least that is what the vet is convinced of).

  20. April 19, 2012 6:16 PM

    gray hairs are a sign of sophistication. also, you will never be alone. you are loved. also, i know how you feel, my sadie and quincy were the loves of my life. parts of me died when they left this planet. my grays are wiry too. and i pluck them out.

  21. April 19, 2012 6:17 PM

    i realize that comment was all over the place, but i’m a little all over the place today. excited to meet the bloggess tonight. without her, i would not have met you.

  22. April 19, 2012 9:01 PM

    I’m jealous of your gray hair(s). As a young mom with a lot of things to say, NO ONE TAKES ME SERIOUSLY. If I had gray hairs, anytime someone scoffs at me when I’m blurting out some wisdom, I’d be like, “check out my gray hairs” and they would be SILENCED. At least, that’s how it plays out in my head. And when I picture my first gray hair happening in my bathing suit area, that whole scenario becomes a lot more interesting.

  23. April 20, 2012 12:57 AM

    Your hair has simply entered its philosophical stage.

  24. April 20, 2012 2:22 PM

    i found my first gray hairs at age 11. or rather, the little jersey bee-otches that sat behind me in hebrew school found them, shouting, “THAT MEANS YOU’RE OLD!” who’s laughing now, biznatches??! oh sorry: that actually had nothing to do with your post. man hebrew school sucked.

  25. April 20, 2012 6:12 PM

    I’ve been going grey since 18. After the first 100 you are like…whatever! Over the years I grew it out to see what it would be like as a grey-head. I looked tired. I’m much more rested looking with a good dye job.

    Isabel fluffy love. My Vet said my Willow was overweight. He put her on diet dog food…she gained 10 lbs. It’s how she rolls. Cute snuggle rolls.

  26. April 20, 2012 11:08 PM

    You had me at “sitting on the toilet.” (Because I can relate, you perv…)

    Your ability to incorporate names like “Telly Savalas” into your posts is one of the eleventeen million reasons why your blog should have its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

  27. April 22, 2012 7:19 PM

    You have my sympathy. Being of a mature age now I have kowtowed to my grey hairs and gone blonde. . .this is quite clever coz when the greys come in they blend with the blonde. Anyway, I always wanted to be blonde.
    Naturally the demise of the feline companions would be devastating but you can then really get some pathos going and call the blog: Alone. . .without cats. (Sob)

  28. April 23, 2012 1:34 PM

    My hair is ash blonde… Ash, like, you know, what’s left of you after the funeral. I’d do anything for hair that merely signified getting older. My hair thinks I’m dead already.

    That comment sounds much angrier than I actually wanted it to.

    PS. I don’t get those Brita Pitchers. My parents have one, and it just seems weird to put water from the tap into a jug, which you then pour into a glass. Brita pitchers are clearly the middle-managers of hydrating refreshments.

  29. Marian permalink
    April 24, 2012 4:09 PM

    okay, i’m just gonna say, wait until you DO find it in the pervy place you might have discovered it whilst using the toilet. that day for me was fairly profound. and it smacked me right into the script for the (bemoaned, cancelled, wonderful) show Bored to Death, wherein i got to be Ted Danson. not bad, really.

  30. April 24, 2012 10:25 PM

    Are you sure it was an actual grey hair? One time I thought my hair had betrayed my fun loving youthful self when I found a cluster of grey hairs. I moped around all day until a friend decided she needed to drag me out of the house. After I showered I noticed the grey hairs were gone! Turns out it was just some paint. My friend and I toasted our youth that evening with gin gimlets and hot toddy’s.

  31. May 13, 2012 8:19 PM

    I hope that my hair turns a really cool shade of grey/white when I get older. That way, I can fulfill my dream of looking like Storm from X-Men.

    Great post, as always!

  32. May 23, 2012 2:14 AM

    Yep, I feel ya, sister. My kids make completely innocent remarks all the time the moment any grey starts poking through. I keep hoping that by the time it’s ALL silver, it’s something hip and funky looking…but the little wonky suckers I’ve been seeing are pretty freakin’ ugly no matter which way you look at it :)
    anne

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