Notes From A Walkman Junkie: Timing (And Apparently, Hair) Are Everything
Much in the same way that cats, overly-animated grabby people, gingers, and creepy nut-jobs lacking in good personal hygiene are inexplicably drawn to me — I often find myself in the wrong place (my car) at the wrong time (when someone else is hitting my car with their car.) Though I have been in my fair share of fender-benders over the years, there is one in particular that I was somewhat “double stuffed” as far as timing and circumstances were concerned. I was in college and freshly single after a two year (that seemed really long at the time) relationship with a high school boyfriend. A guy that I shared a few classes with asked me if I wanted to “hang out” sometime and I hesitantly (he was not really my cup of tea — I prefer coffee) agreed. He told me he was planning to have some friends over at his place and that I should come by.
When I arrived at his house and he opened the door, the unpleasant sounds of The Dave Matthews Band and the distinct (also unpleasant) smell of patchouli (along with my immediate and palpable regret) filled the air — not to mention, there was nary a “friend” in sight. At that point, I knew that I had made a tremendous mistake and began hatching out my swift departure. I decided to feign illness (normally I would feign sleep, but that only works in specific situations — like when a friend’s bonehead boyfriend shows up and you really don’t wish to speak with him) and make my leave of him. My scheme was executed seamlessly — I came in, sat down on the couch for approximately a nanosecond, then jumped up with springy legs while blurting out “I feel sick”, and promptly ran out to my car and sped off.
I was probably about halfway home, still trying to leave the memories (and smells) of the failed evening behind me, when I remembered an important errand that I had intended to make that day. There was a store en route to my house that carried a special kind of (glorious, magical) shampoo that I had been using and was currently out of. The store was fortuitously still open as my “date” had ended a bit (hours) earlier than scheduled so I decided to pop in and purchase my precious (shampoo). I entered the store and bought an enormous (you just don’t understand how luscious it made my normally limp hair) bottle of the beloved product and placed it lovingly in the passenger seat of my car before climbing in myself.
Perhaps it was my overwhelming bliss over my new (giant) shampoo score or my trying to glaze over the evening’s previous unfavorable events, but for whatever reason, my defensive driving skills were terribly askew and I failed to notice the vehicle barreling towards my car in the parking lot. My car was sharply struck and I sat in shock for a moment as smoke began to rise from the hood of my car. I was calmly advised (people shrieking at me to “get out of the car!”) by witnesses of the accident to exit from my fuming vehicle. I slowly crawled out of the car, still in a haze, and joined the small cluster of onlookers. As people began questioning if I was all right and if I wanted them to call anyone for me, I was suddenly overcome with one single (intense and desperately irrational) thought — I had to save that SHAMPOO. I loudly exclaimed, “my shampoo!” and darted back to the smoking wreckage to retrieve it . I then nonchalantly rejoined the crowd, firmly clutching my lathery loot (my hair was remarkably attractive for the next several months) and waited for help to arrive.
I am attaching Willy Nelson singing “Always On My Mind” because it is always in times of true crisis and peril that we truly discover the things (really big shampoo bottles) that are the most important to us.