The Hair Dryer Affair


Tuesday, 07/20/2004
Around 6:45 a.m.

The Hair Dryer Affair

What You Wont Do For Love by Bobby Caldwell….89

                 Standing in the bathroom getting ready for work, I’m talking to Max as I sometimes do.  Yet, who is there to listen besides my little ladies?  Perched in the hall are my two lovely cats, ears flicking with each inflection.  Now they’re gawking at me as I natter on while brushing some blush on my cheeks.  Then I dry my hair and when I’m done, I turn off the hair dryer and set it down on the counter as one would normally do.  But even as I start to brush my hair, straight away I hear the word Beautiful! as full-bodied as it can be.  At once, I turn and say, “Who’s there?”

                Taking a step back, I glance down at the hall carpet.  Why, of course, it’s the cats, Allie and Tiggi sitting up, wide eyes tracking my every move.

                Nothing more, nothing less.

                But when Max was around, the word “beautiful” had become a standing joke between us.  Sometimes when we were getting ready to go out for the evening, he would lean up against the bathroom door and watch me fix my hair.  Then, when I was done, he’d say, “Beautiful!”

                “Max,” I’d say, smiling.  Then we’d smooch or something.

                At other times, I’d hear him say “Beautiful!” in passing.  I’d peer out into the hall, and say, “Oh, you’re just saying that to hurry me along,” as in, hey you look fine, but let’s get going, lady.

                Still, he seemed sincere.  Sweet moments held forever in my heart….

                Now I’m standing in the bathroom glancing in the mirror, brushing the same spot, over and over.  And again, from nowhere comes that vibrant sound, Beautiful! like an echo in time.  I’m brooding now as I stare at the mystified woman who’s scratching her forehead, staring back at me.  Is this just another memory, a fond recollection of a time gone by?

                Or am I “hearing” his thoughts?

                So I set my brush down and stand very still, close my eyes and breathe as I do when I go into a meditative state.

                Deeper now, I breathe and say, “Max, are you here?”

                No response.

                Then, out of the blue, an idea pops into my head.  With utmost concentration, I say, “Darling, if you’re here, would you give me a sign?”

                Feeling calm and relaxed from the breathing exercise, I continue to get ready and put on my lipstick.  While doing so, I recall something that happened when Max was alive.  Chuckling, I say, “Hey guy, remember the time….”

                But even before my sentence is finished, whoosh, the hair dryer starts to blow!  That’s weird, I never touched it.  I’m aghast because it doesn’t fall – it’s gyrating all over the counter!  Suddenly, I’m hot, like my skin is crawling with ants.  I jump back and away – and let out a blood-curdling scream – as if this thing is a Giant Ant Eater about to devour me!

                By this time, the cats have vacated the premises.

                I side-step into the hall as the Ant Eater rages on.

                What to do?  I know it makes no sense, but I can’t go back in there….

                Then, as astoundingly as it started, the machine stops.

                Slowly, I tiptoe into the bathroom, afraid of who-knows-what.  But it’s just the hair dryer setting on the counter.  The machine had turned itself OFF.  (Well, at least that is how it appeared.)  The hair dryer is not running. How it got that way, I do not know.

                Obviously, a machine that contains no programmable devices cannot turn off like a preprogrammed water timer, for example.  My hair dryer is definitely not a programmable machine, and I promise you, I never touched the darned thing!

                Stunned, I sat down on the toilet seat and tried to comprehend what had just happened.


89 Caldwell, Bobby. “What You Won’t Do for Love.” What You Won’t Do for Love.
Sin-Drome, 1978. LP.

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