November 13, 2009

Trial by Hair

Getting hair coloured is becoming more and more of a production as the years go by. Luckily, I'm in good hands.

The colour itself has the consistency and temperature of yoghurt. I remind myself that I asked for this but I feel self-conscious about the process every time. Chris the hairdresser is awesome, low key fast & pro every time. I'm just self conscious about how I look during the process. I always imagine myself taking before, during and after photos, but I never do it. I think that I wouldn't want to embarrass or distract Chris from his important work. The man has a job to do and a schedule to stick to.

Halfway through applying the colour, the top of my hair is slicked down flat and the untouched ends with their faded old colour curl out and up like two big upturned wings of hair. I start to snicker when I realize that I resemble Flat-top from Dick Tracy (the movie, not the comic book).

Now I'm apparently so grey (white to be precise!) that my head must be heated under a dryer in order to open the cuticles and 'push' in the colour, so Chris puts a plastic bag on my hair and a metal clip on the front which looks odd and feels odder. Not a good look for me.

While I'm wrapped up in plastic like I have an expiry date, I must sit under the noisy magic helmet for 20 mins slowly heating my hair (and scalp and maybe brain) to some requisite colour-penetrating temperature. It's a great time to get some important writing done. Or this.

A little bell goes ding and I say that my egg is done. Nobody laughs or seems to notice. Oh well.

After the hair dryer, I sit back in the barber chair with the plastic bag on my head for 20 more mins. My scalp is all hot burning and tingly. When the bag comes off there's a rush of cool air and it feels like my brain can breathe again. Chris brings me a coffee. I feel rewarded.

The shampoo is the best part. Period.

Chris gives me an awesome cut. When it's finished, it looks great and I feel pretty damn good about it.

November 11, 2009


Watching the Remembrance Day Ceremony on Parliament Hill today, I was reminded of how much sacrifice Canadian soldiers and their families have endured over the past century. It's something about which I have no direct experience, and yet with all the conflicts going on in the world today, something about which I need to remain aware.

There is military service (and "pseudo-military" service) in my family. My maternal grandfather and namesake, Ernest Huntley Clarke, applied to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force in WWI, although he was discharged on medical grounds soon after applying. After that, he joined the RCMP, and served at posts all over western Canada over the next 30 years.

My Dad, James Evan Love, enlisted in the Canadian Army in the 1940s, missing his chance to go over to Europe during WWII. Someone had measles or smallpox, so his entire group went into quarantine, during which time the war ended. He served as a Military Policeman, and distinguished himself as a very good marksman in various competitions. Later, Dad would join the RCAF and study radar and communications, flying in planes like the Hercules and the Lancaster Bomber.

One of his other sons, my brother David, also served for many years in the Canadian Navy. I'm sure that there are also Uncles and cousins who've worked in the military, and of whose stories I am ignorant.

Watching the ceremony from Ottawa, seeing the faces of the veterans from WWII and onward, I was struck by the amazing variety of eras, cultures, conflicts and generations that were represented. Yet, when a voice called "Attention!", it looked like the whole assembly, hundreds of veterans and personnel, adjusted their stance in unison. With all that cultural and temporal diversity, there was still a common understanding of duty and personal sacrifice.