A couple of months ago, passing through Tennessee, we spent a night in a campground intended for horse people. The facilities were great, especially the restrooms. I wandered over to use the ladies’ room, and while I was washing my hands, I chatted with a woman who was blow-drying her hair. About an hour later, I went back for a shower. She was still there, styling her hair. I could hardly believe it.
It turned out that she shows horses professionally. As such, she is judged on her appearance and performance, as well as the horse’s. That weekend, she was just going to be trail-riding in the woods with her family, but to her mind, there was no way she could ever go out on a horse without doing full hair and makeup.
It was a fascinating conversation, during which I admitted that I hadn’t owned a blow-dryer in many years — my hair is too long to benefit from such treatment. I held back any comments about wasting a large portion of one’s life in a public restroom with a blow-dryer for company.
What does this have to do with working on Flutterby? OK, I’m getting there.
We have a giant hole in our deck that’s become something of a sore spot. Giant is relative — the hole is about the size of my hand. We’ve had lots of gully-washer thunderstorms, and this hole holds about a cup of water, no matter how we try to cover it up. A couple of days ago, we looked at each other across the soggy hole and said “We need a blow dryer.”
More damned shopping. I gnashed my teeth.
I mentioned this to my friend Pat as we were making plans to meet for lunch. “Maybe we’ll find a blow dryer at the thrift store,” I said, hopefully. I love shopping at thrift stores, and I hate shopping at places like Target and Wal-Mart. But Pat had a very reasonable objection: “Why would someone give it away if it still worked?”
So we got into the Squid Wagon and drove into town with two goals. One, have lunch with Pat and Belinda (happy thought), and two, buy a brand-new blow-dryer (tooth-gnashing thought).
When we arrived in town, it was hot. But Beaufort is an old town, with nice big trees overhanging slightly narrow streets. Instead of taking the first Giant Squid-sized parking space, I circled a couple of blocks, looking for a shady spot. At one point, I had to pull way over to allow the garbage truck to go by. The garbage men were wearing orange vests that said “Inmate” on the back, and they had very, very short hair. Not the kind of guys who would need a blow-dryer.
Finally, I found a shady space, just past a couple of garbage cans waiting to be emptied.
Barry got out of the van first, but for some reason, he was standing behind the vehicle. I could hear the chuckles start, then full-on belly-laughter, and when I walked around, he was pointing at the garbage can.
Sitting on top of the lid was a blow-dryer, the cord neatly-coiled. We looked at each other, and Barry’s laughter faded to a slight frown. “How will we know if it works?” he worried. “I’d hate to drive back to the boatyard, thinking we’ve solved our problem, only to find it’s useless.” I stared at the strange, miraculous find and thought about it.
“If it was broken, they would have put it inside the trash can. They put it on top, with the cord neatly coiled, hoping somebody would take it,” I said, slowly. “I bet it still works!”
With a shrug, Barry picked it up. Then he opened the door and placed it in the back of the van without taking a single step. It was meant to be. Perfect synchronicity.
Today, I took the blow-dryer up on the foredeck and tackled the giant hole (which I now call “the blow-dryer hole”). I put on my iPod and sat in the sunshine, watching the boats on the Waterway and the birds and the dolphins and our Finnish boatyard neighbors. As I blow-dried the hole, I thought of the woman in the Tennessee restroom. Thanks to a strange coincidence, I, too, have a blow-dryer, and I spend hours with it each day. I wonder if she could give me some tips for styling fiberglass?