Sunday, May 02, 2010

Ed and I

Saturday. Late, very late into the day, Ed and I go to get his haircut. He likes a place where a clip costs $14 and a beard trim goes for $6. Since he cuts his hair maybe four times a year, it becomes a chore to work through the dense tangle of curls (to be fair, thinning on the top now). I come along, because he gives the cutter no direction. One day he came out with a mullet. The last time I had to use kitchen scissors to take away the Harpo Marx look his cutter seemed to favor.

At the end of yesterday’s session, Ed was a man of style. We wrote down the cutter’s name (although the turnover at Great Clips is terrific) and went home.

Sunday. A repeat performance weather-wise, only warmer and without the gale-strength winds that cavorted up and down the Yahara the day before.

We take stock. I have two errands, Ed has one. After that we can mingle work hours with outdoor time. I’m pleased with the plan.

Frames. We start with a look at the frames I’d picked for my second pair of glasses. The frame shop is not crowded. I show Ed my selection.

He frowns.
I like the ones you have.
Yes, but I need a second pair. If mine break, I can’t work.
The ones you’ve chosen here (he says "here" with a slight emphasis, as if “here” is a dumb place to shop, given the bargains elsewhere) are harsh. Square, against your round face.

I’ll let that last comment go. I reach for a pair that everyone in the store had loved on me the other day.
Is this better?
I like the ones you have.
Okay, but is this better than what I had on a minute ago?
Yes, nicer, sure.
They’re also $100 more.
They’re awful then. Stick with the ones you have.
But I need something to jazz things up a bit, especially if I am about to lose my youthful hair color!

(Ed has convinced me to let go of an attachment to color that recreates what I believe may have been the hair of my childhood.)

Still, I pay for the cheaper frames (no glasses yet – that’s next month’s budget item) and we leave.

Next stop: Whole Foods. We need fruits and milk. As usual, at the checkout, we remember that the reusable bags are in the car. Ed, the guy with the sleek, nice (but cheap) haircut, Ed with the boyish, lovely shorts, Ed with the grin of a kid who has a summer of play before him, runs off to get the bags as I finish the transaction.

The teller begins to bag our items, but I stop him. No no, we have reusable bags, remember?
Yes, sure that’s right. Your son went to the car to get them.

I freeze.

And then I take stock. Me: jeans, a flowered Mexican shirt, long multi-toned hair pulled back with a red band. Jesus, what am I thinking? No, worse – what is the world seeing??

Ed’s back with the bags. I slowly face the checker. You didn’t say son, did you? I want him to look at both of us now, as we are before him. I dare him to repeat it.

He’s flustered and a little confused. I probably wasn’t really looking...

Sure as hell you were. And now, finally, I can be angry and frustrated with both of them, without guilt, without holding back. You said it looked fine! No, Ed, untinted hair looks grandma old!

Ed shrugs. What’s wrong with looking 57? 

Fifty-seven? I have never minded parading my age. I’m 57, I’m 57, I say it up and down! But my oh my, how early must have been that pregnancy, and how nutritious my prenatal diet to have produced this robust boy, my son, my son, so proud of my big boy now, look world, there he is, grabbing free samples at the food store as mom shops for supper. Hey, daughters! Your brother is here by my side only I have to go to work now so maybe you could come over and babysit??

We are on our third errand now, his errand, the pick-up-the-old-and-small-and-best-of-all-cheap sailboat and tow it to his farmette. There, I take out my computer to work while he putters, fixing his motorcycle.



Later, we take a quiet walk. A retired person’s pace, I suppose.

Leaning against the big rock, I allow myself a grin.


We stay a while, listening to the birds shout out their folk song. Not too old, not too old!