Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday Lights Rescue Woman from Bad Hair Woes

With the holidays around the corner I, like many people, am thinking ahead. In order to be able to eat during Christmas week, I am dieting now. In addition, I am sorting and organizing my paperwork so that I can finish the school year, with its myriad reports, on schedule. Last but not least, in order to look my best, I just had my hair treated for the first time in my life. Unfortunately, that was not a great idea.

To make a long story short, I had a GROUPON for a wash, color treatment and cut, but when I got to the salon the beautician informed me that she couldn’t color my hair without first ensuring I was not allergic to their product. An allergy test would take 24 hours. I wanted to feel beautiful in less than 3, so clearly caution was out of the question. 

I asked her if there was an alternative. She said there was, but the treatment wouldn´t conceal my previously discussed grays. That didn´t surprise me. I don´t have many grays, but the ones I do have are wild, rebellious corkscrews on an otherwise straight head of hair. These grays LOVE to stand at attention, and when I say attention I am not envisioning respectable, stiff-backed soldiers but rather wobbly, drunk ones. But that didn´t matter, since I was used to dealing with them.

¨And if I pluck the grays?¨ I asked.
¨No plucking. It´s better to cut them.¨ She answered. 
¨Fine. Then we can still go ahead?¨
¨Of course. This is a simple treatment. I´m just going to use a lightener on sections of your hair to bring out your natural highlights¨

Dashed Expecations
That sounded a lot like what I had wanted in the first place, so I blissfully forged ahead. Alas, nothing is as simple as it seems. Perhaps my natural highlights are orange. Perhaps this treatment was left on my hair for way too long. One way or the other, I left the salon with sharply defined orange and black stripes atop my head. Since I am not interested in blending into a jungle and am well past the age where a mad hairdo can piss off my parents, I wasn´t exactly happy with my new look. 

Believe it or not, this brings me to the point of this post. FINALLY! 
Bummed out and looking for a means of damage control, I wound up shopping for a hat on Rambla de Catalunya. I did not expect to enjoy myself, nevertheless, I did. In retrospect, that shouldn´t have come as a surprize.

Despite its ¨heart of downtown¨ location, Rambla de Catalunya is a truly charming thoroughfare. Unlike Las Ramblas, it is both picturesque and uncongested at almost any time of the year. Even in wintertime, it’s full of outdoor terraces with torch heaters where pedestrians can grab a hot chocolate, rest their feet and enjoy the outdoor ambiance. 

In terms of shopping there are loads of high-end stores full of drool-inducing products, but there is also a nice assortment of mid-range shops. In my experience the service on the street (in both shops and restaurants) is great. Folks are helpful and happy to be there and their good mood is contagious. 

The Magic of Light
Last but not least, there are the lights. From about November 22nd onwards, Rambla de Catalunya and many other streets throughout the city are festooned with holiday lights. When night falls the center practically pirouettes in its sparkling, winter dress and the effect is magical. Whether walking on Passeig de Gracia or a narrow street in the Born, one cannot help but feel welcomed by the city and energized by its exhuberant displays of so many tiny, white lights against the night. 

So there I was, feeling good despite the tiger stripes. It´s amazing what a little light, combined with the brisk night air can do. At that moment, my bad dye job was no big deal. I was back to reality and back to life. 

¨Happy Holidays¨ in Catalan

My new hat