Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

10.20.2009

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

On a fateful Sunday in September, my morning went surprisingly smooth. I got up, showered, ate breakfast, and “got ready.” That “getting ready” involved carefully curling my perfectly straight hair, misting it in a cloud of hairspray, and smoothing it with a glob hair gloss. Of course, I also had to groom my unruly eyebrows, and carefully coat each eyelash in black mascara. Voila! With a final glance to ensure that each and every hair—short or long, curly or straight, black or brown—was perfectly in place, I was soon downstairs participating in family devotions and then out the door for church.
After church, we headed home with our afternoon planned—we were going to can the fresh tuna Papa and Mama had just picked up the day before in Astoria, OR. Home-canned tuna is to store-bought canned tuna as a beef roast is to spam and bologna. Thus, we make a tradition of canning around 80 pints and half-pints every fall. This time, a family from church asked if they could come over to watch and learn the process. Soon, everything was in place: the tuna was on the cutting board; the jars were freshly washed; the propane stove was set up outside; knives, salt, and lids were in hand; and I had changed into appropriate clothes with my bangs carefully pinned back.
The first pressure-cooker load ready, I went outside, lit the stove, and started the batch. When the second was ready, I again carried the cooker out, with the father from the other family (Mr. W) carrying the lid. Setting the cooker down on the burner, matchbox in hand, I turned on the gas. I lit the match and held it under the pan. At this point, it is easier for me to tell you what I was thinking, rather than attempting to paint a big-picture scene.
First: Whoa! I’m on fire! All I could see was orange and flames as I immediately reacted and stepped back from the stove. Just in case you’re wondering, my first impulse was not to stop, drop, and roll. Sorry. I know that is freaking you out, knowing that when you inevitably catch on fire all your safety training will go out the window.
Second: Hey! I’m OK! The flames ceased, and I realized that not only was I still standing, but I felt no pain, and surprisingly little fear.
It was at this point that I looked at Mr. W, still standing next to the stove with the lid in his hand and his jaw unhinged from his jawbone at an entirely improper angle. The two words he managed, spoken with all the gravity and somberness of a tragedy struck fear in my heart like a bolt of lightning on a dead—wait, never mind, I’m not going there.
“Your hair.”
No exclamation. No question. One statement. And I immediately felt sick. My hair? What’s wrong with my hair? No, please—anything but the hair! As I turned down the gas, fitted the lid onto the cooker, and monitored the pressure, the sickly aroma of burnt hair stung my nose. Taking my hairpin out, I was shocked to see great chunks of ash fall from my head. This was bad. This was really, really bad.
As soon as possible, I escaped to the bathroom to survey the damage, and it wasn’t pretty. My carefully groomed eyebrows now resembled those of an eighty year-old man (to all the eighty year-old men reading this—I love your eyebrows, they just don’t quite fit on a nineteen year old girl), all frizzy and white-tipped. My eyelashes were in a similar state—weirdly wiry and white. Moreover, I now had a lovely tuft of hair that zigzagged its way from my scalp to the sky in a disturbingly Ensteinian fashion.
All the females of my family gave me sympathy, empathy, and suggestions to remedy my Ms. Frizzle ‘do. Papa was extremely sympathetic too, of course, as he asked me several times if I really was OK. However, with that out of the way, he comforted me with the thought that my eyelashes would eventually fall out and grow in again. Can we not talk about losing more eyelashes? Additionally, he delicately suggested that perhaps I put too much stock into the strands of dead protein pushing out of my skin follicles.

Me, exactly one week after the "tragedy."

I am happy to report that, while writing this article made my heart pound very uncomfortably, my hands go cold, and my stomach turn queasy (seriously!), I am nearly recovered from that fateful Sunday. The long-term after-effects are virtually none (except for the fact that I will NEVER EVER EVER light a propane stove again), and you probably wouldn’t even detect my frizzy tuft of hair (my eyebrows and eyelashes are back to normal) if I hadn’t told you. Mr. W kindly gifted me with a lighter out of the goodness of his heart (I guess he didn’t get the memo that I will NEVER EVER EVER light a propane stove again, FOR AS LONG AS I LIVE). Ultimately, though, I did learn a valuable lesson. Proverbs 31:30 was, I think written with fire-singed frizzy-haired women in mind: “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.”
There are people who are born with disfiguring features, or who have entire propane tanks explode on them in a massive fireball, or who undergo chemotherapy in a brave bid to fight off cancer and loose every last strand of hair. Yet I, a vain female, value my unremarkable protein so much that I will agonize over the loss of a few chunks. Somehow, over a decade ago, God saw fit to pull me--a vain creature, egotistical and narcissistic--from my morass and set me on the path to life and heaven. Ever since that day, I have been on a mission to be the “woman that feareth the Lord,” even though I still struggle with pride. There will be a day when I am lowered into the ground, and my hair and my body eventually decompose until there is nothing recognizable left. Even when I am just a skeleton ten feet under, though, my soul will still be living in heaven. Obviously, I forget this sometimes; how could I ever put more emphasis on passing physical features than on the one part of me that will exist eternally? All in perspective, right?


P.S. Glory and honor—or at least the satisfaction of keen insight—to those who identify my missteps in lighting the stove. As much as I hate to admit it, propane stoves tend to be relatively predictable creatures who, when treated respectfully, respond in kind.

8 comments:

  1. wow, that sounded frightening
    I'm glad your ok!
    I can understand why you wouldn't want to light
    a propane BBQ again!
    Abby

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  2. Oh you poor dear!! I'm so sorry for your misfortune, but you know what? You look just as beautiful as you ever have (or even better! :)- even in that "exactly one week after the "tragedy" " picture. :)
    Love you, dear!
    ~Raquel

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  3. Thanks for your sweet words, Abby and Raquel! Thankfully, in my "one week after" photo, my frizzy and white hairs had broken off, and it's not close enough for you to see the lack thereof. =)

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  4. *grins* I'm sorry for your pains...but I still think it's a funny story! I feel justified in my giggles, though, since you are totally fine and I never even noticed your "frizzes" until you pointed them out to me! And since they're not "your one beauty," you've no need to worry anyway! An ability to learn lessons in "trials" (even humiliating ones) is so much prettier than long bangs...
    Luv U! I'll try to stop grinning...*snicker* :p

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  5. Thanks for humbly sharing your "illuminating" story and its valuable lesson. Glad to hear you are okay. Your one-week-later photo looked just as beautiful as ever. :)

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  6. Goodness, Mikaela, what a harrowing tale! I'm glad you escaped virtually unscathed. =D

    Incidentally, that's a gorgeous picture of you. The colors are so sweet and soft.

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  7. Jasmine and Ruthie--thanks for your compliments. It's amazing what Photoshop can do, isn't it? ;-)
    Also, since no one seemed to detect the errors of my ways in lighting the stove, allow me to inform you:
    1. Never light a propane stove when the pan is on the burner. Set the pan on the ground or a table while you are lighting the burner.
    2. Never turn on the gas before striking the match. You should strike the match, switch on the gas, and then immediately place the match near the burner. This way, there will not be an overabundance of unconsumed fumes to explode in your face. ;-)

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  8. I'm glad your ok, it is very scary what those things can do!!!

    And yes loosing your hair, because of an accident or chemo is very strange and scary. You don't really think about it untill it is not there no more....

    Thanks for the story!

    ReplyDelete

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