Saving The Hairdo|
Hair is important in my family. My Mama and Aunt Ka Ka are beautiful women. They look like twins, each with perfectly teased blond hair, flawless makeup on perfect skin, and colorful clothes perfectly matched to shoes and handbags. Every Saturday, they get their hair washed, teased, and sprayed into work of art that doesn’t move for a week. I have never seen either of them without what they call a “hairdo.” When planning for the River Boat cruise, Aunt Ka Ka strategically scheduled her trip to the “beauty shop” as close to the trip as possible.
On the first day of the journey, Pocket Full of Quarters, I spent the day traveling with Aunt Ka Ka and Uncle Bobby through Florida towards New Orleans. Looking for adventures, we veered off Interstate 10 to the coast. I was excited when we checked in to our beachfront hotel that night. I love the ocean and look forward to every minute near it. We had searched for hotels for what seemed like hours. Either they were full or beyond our budget. Finally, we had what I thought was going to be home for the night.
“Just take the 2 small bags in,” begged Uncle Bobby. He had carefully packed their travel clothes and cruise clothes in two different sets of luggage so they didn’t have to take everything in.
“If someone breaks into our car and steals these suitcases, you will have to take me shopping,” Aunt Ka Ka firmly explained. She was not leaving those bags in the car. Knowing how this argument was going to end, I began unpacking the heavy bags. Packing for a cruise is complicated and requires several types of clothes, hence four heavy suitcases.
I entered Aunt Ka Ka and Uncle Bobby’s room to be greeted by a blast of cold air. Brrrr. The air conditioner was on high. “It’s cold in here,” Aunt Ka Ka noted. She was right. We turned down the air, huffed as we took the four bags in, and I left in search of my room.
I went back to the car to get my 2 bags and a computer. I should have packed smarter, I thought. I was willing to leave bags in the car but I needed both suitcases. I turned the key in the lock and opened the door to unmade beds and luggage everywhere. Woops, I thought. They must have given me the wrong key. Not being in the mood to see a stranger naked, I closed my eyes, yelled excuse me, and backed out.
Aunt Ka Ka came outside, leaving her hotel door open, to guard my stuff while I returned to the office. That open door is going to be significant later in this story. When I arrived at the office, I looked at a young man who appeared to be a “surfer dude” and said, “Someone else is living in my room.”
“What?” he said.
A man of few words, I thought. Maybe he has water in his ear from surfing. I spoke a little louder. “I opened the door to enter the room and saw a room full of luggage. Someone already has this room.”
“That’s not possible,” he explained. “Are you sure that isn’t your stuff you saw. After all, it’s your room.”
Did he really just say that? I resisted the urge to answer, “You know what. You’re right. I forgot I’d already moved my stuff in. I’ll just return to the room right now.” Sarcasm never works well for me. He would have just nodded and said OK. Instead, I said, “Yes, I’m sure. This really is someone else’s stuff.”
“I’ll have to lock up the office to walk over to check it out,” he grumped. “There can’t possibly be someone else in the room.” I hoped I at least looked patient as I waited for him to get his keys and confirm my story. We walked quietly to the room together. He opened the door, looked in, and reported, “There is luggage in here.” I nodded, feeling vindicated.
Clearly irritated, he stormed back to the office. “It must have been the other lady that was at the desk with me,” he defended. “She probably gave them the wrong key.” I started to give him my canned lecture about taking responsibility for things but decided it would fall on water-filled ears. I smiled what I imagined was another patient smile and took my new key.
I went back to the rooms, where my aunt was dutifully standing, door still open, guarding my stuff. I drug the two suitcases and the computer into the new room and collapsed on the bed. It was 7:00 PM and I had left my home at 8:30 AM that morning. I rested for a few moments and walked to the ocean. I was surprised by the tumultuous wave action. For some reason, I thought the Gulf was calm. I stretched out on a beach chair, relaxed, and prayed. The sun was slowly setting. This was heaven. Two children were playing Frisbee. A mother and a toddler frolicked in the water. I snapped pictures and breathed in the salt air. I imagined doing morning devotions in this same spot.
It was getting late and I had stories to write. Hating to leave, duty called. When I walked back to the room, my Uncle Bobby met me and said, “We have to move.” He is also a man of few words. I needed more information.
“Why?” I asked.
“Come look at our room,” he instructed. Since I had just left their room, I couldn’t imagine what I would find. Uncle Bobby wasn’t giving hints. I walked in to find water everywhere. The tile floors were so wet that you could slide down. You could wipe your hands on the refrigerator and completely wet your hands. The bedspreads were damp and the towels in the bathroom felt used. I looked at my poor Aunt Ka Ka to see makeup dripping down her forehead. Was that a hair out of place? Surely not.
“I went over to talk to the desk clerk,” Aunt Ka Ka explained. I told him there was water everywhere. He acted like he didn’t believe me and came over to look.” Been there done that, I thought.
“Can they do anything about it?” I asked hopefully. I was tired and had hours of work ahead. “The sign in the lobby said absolutely no refunds.”
“He doesn’t know what it is and didn’t offer any suggestions. We have to change hotels. I won’t have a hairdo left if I stay here.”
Once she played the hairdo card, I knew I had lost but I tried one more time. “When we entered the room it was freezing. The humidity is high and you left the door open for a long time. This is condensation.”
“I don’t care what it is. We can’t stay here.” I had to admit I had never seen a room as wet. Even the toilet seats were soaked. I took pity and started packing without further argument. I entered the lobby by the “no refund sign” and boldly asked for a refund. I suspect the desk clerk was glad to get rid of us because he immediately gave the refund. Ironically, the credit slip to the Visa card had the words “no refunds” printed on it.
It was almost 8:00 PM when we packed the 6 suitcases and the computer back into the car and started driving. By this time, Aunt Ka Ka and Uncle Bobby had had enough of the beach and wanted to find an interstate hotel. “But it’s an hour away,” I argued as I glanced longingly at the ocean and turned the car towards I-10. We tried to call hotels but rooms were booked. Two hours later, we finally stumbled into a smoke filled room on I-10. Exhausted, I still worked for a couple of hours before sleep won.
We woke up the next morning to Aunt Ka Ka’s hairdo still intact. We had saved the hairdo!
Your hair is like a flock of goats That have descended from Gilead. NASU