I was at a meeting last night with a bunch of friends in what we call, the Space. It’s right downtown and after the meeting 4 of us decided to have another meeting for coffee. I was low on cash so one of my friends offered to buy. It’s good to have friends. Tim’s (or T-Ho’s as some foreigners call it) is a short walk from the Space but we took the long way so my paying friend could get some money from an ATM. That’s how four of us ended up in the little glass room at the bank around 9 p.m. watching our friend get out some money and trying to learn his secret code. As he was making his withdrawal a lady walked in and was half way through the door when she looked up and saw 3 of us standing there. She stopped short with a sort of “is this how I’m going to die” look on her face. I made a lame joke trying to ease the tension and she gave me an equally lame laugh and when on over to her machine. My friend coerced $20 out of the machine and we were off.
As we rounded the corner we ran into one of the guys who spends a lot of time on the streets here and who, despite the number of times I bump into him, I’ve never met when he was sober. He ended up going with us for coffee and he shared story after story that had beginnings that didn’t match their endings and made keen theological observations fall deeply into the ‘unsearchable mysteries’ category. He had a deep gash in his hand where he’d hit someone who, he assured us, had hit him first.
In between his interjections the rest of us had a pretty good visit. We joked around the way guys do. Lots of fashion humour. We were having some fun with my friend Ian, who looked a little more coordinated and fashionable than usual. I correctly guessed had been dressed by his wife that night. “Well, she picked out my clothes,” he said, “but I dressed myself.” He then wanted to know why everyone was making fun of his clothes and Anthony told him not to worry about it, “We make fun of Brian’s clothes all the time.”
Me: “You what?”
Anthony: “I, um, that was just a joke.”
Anthony: “Anyway Ian,” (trying to change the subject) “I think you look shick tonight.”
Me, Darrell & Ian: “Shick?” We all try to work that one out and get there at the same time. “CHIC!” For the rest of the night everything was shick at Tim’s, the employee’s uniforms, the donuts, the coffee mugs. Everything.
And then Darrell looks at me and in a totally non-sequitur moment says to me, “Why is the hair on top of your head a different colour than your beard?”
“Do you colour your hair?”
Ian is grinning, Anthony leans in for my answer and says, “Do you use that….” And names some hair stuff that covers up the grey.
Two things that are true: 1) Darrell was right about my hair and beard and until that moment I had never really thought about it. I’ve thought about dyeing my hair before (last year) but I was going to dye it fuschia. 2) I’ve never died my hair. I don’t even get grey hair, just white. I suppose technically I’ve got 3 colours going with white being the colour that ties the hair and beard together. I don’t know what the deal is, genetics I guess. My beard is the same colour my hair was when I was a kid, the top’s gotten darker.
I really hadn’t thought about it until this came up at coffee so last night I start thinking about it. That’s not a good thing. First I was paranoid: “Why are people paying attention to my hair anyway?” Then I was vain: “Hey, do I look weird or something?” (By the way, the elusive Donna says, “No, don’t be silly, not because of that.”) After that it was curiosity: “Hmmm. Why is my hair like this?” Next was fear: “Maybe something’s wrong me, I should talk to my doctor about this, maybe there’s a deficiency of something somewhere?” Next came self-criticism: “Why haven’t I noticed this before now? How oblivious am I?” And then acceptance, “Ah well.” Finally, celebration: “I’ve still got hair! Bonus!”
Today though, I’m thinking very seriously of dyeing the beard fuschia. It’ll be shick!