Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A hairy situation

Sorry for the delay in posts. I've been really busy getting back into the married routine. It's scary how easily that can slip away. 11 short days without Andy and it's like was single again.

So anyway.

Back during my blog-cation, when I cleaned out my old teenage bedroom I found a folder from my days in Advanced Placement Junior English class.

Can I just tell you this thing has some real treasures inside of it.

It's kind of frightening to see inside my brain from ten years ago.

But I came across something that I knew I needed to share with all of you. Because it's priceless.

You see, in that class we had a student teacher for part of the year. That's no big deal, really. I've had my fair share of student teachers, but this particular student is permanently burned into my brain, never to be forgotten.

Her name was Miss Diana. We never really knew if that was her first name or last name, but that's what we called her.

Miss Diana was what some might call a hippie. She lived in the mountains (where I live now, but then I lived in the foothills) and she didn't have a home. Though you couldn't consider her homeless because she lived that way by choice. I don't remember if she lived in a tent or a tepee, but I've always imagined her in a tepee. Mostly because when she said she lived outside it conjured up images of Eustace Conway in my head so I've always visualized her in a tepee wearing moccasins.

One of the first things we learned about our new teacher was that she had had surgery to remove a brain tumor. The surgery had been a success and she was fine, but they had shaved her head. By doing so they had removed a most vital part of her appearance - her dreadlocks.

One of the exercises that Miss Diana liked doing with us was word association. Someone would say a word and the next person would say whatever word that came to mind next. In short order we took it to the next level to flex our creative writing skills and we would be given a word or an object to write a small paragraph about. We were supposed to just let the words flow out of our minds and into our pencils. Whatever we were thinking.

Then one day Miss Diana came in with a large brown paper bag. We had assumed our usual position by arranging our desks in a circle (there were only nine of us) and waited for class to commence.

Miss Diana removed her bundle to show us what our writing topic would be about that day.

Do you see where this is going?

Out of the bag came a huge pile of dreadlocks. Miss Diana's beloved dreadlocks, that she had saved from the garbage when they shaved her head for surgery.

Ho-ly shit!

I think she may have tried at one point to pass the hairball around the circle and I'm not so sure that any of us were brave enough to get that close. Eventually the hair ended up perched on a table in front of us and we were instructed to "let the words flow" as per usual.

The following is, verbatim, what I wrote that day:

I see hair. I don't have a lot to say about it. Acctually I don't have anything to say about it. I'm sitting here straining my brain for something to write. My mind is blank. My mind is blank a lot of times but right now it is really empty. I guess sometimes that can be a good thing. I know it is for me because when I have too much on my mind and I think a lot about it, I have a bad habit of picking at my cuticles and they end up looking really bad like they do now. They really look bad right now because I've had a lot on my mind lately. But I don't anymore so my cuticles can heal now.

Analyze that.

A blank mind? I think not. What I was really thinking was, "OH! MY! GOD! I can't believe she actually saved that! And then she brought it here to infest us all with lice and disease! I wonder where she keeps that inside her tepee?!"

You see, my momma raised me right. Saying what I really thought would have seriously hurt Miss Diana's feelings and I couldn't let that happen. Even if I thought she should immediately take the dreadlocks outside and set them on fire I would never tell her that to her face. Sometimes lying is a good thing.

It's also a good thing that I didn't have to say anything out loud about it because I'm not so good at keeping my face under control. As it was she probably could tell exactly what I was thinking if she looked at me for more than five seconds. I'm pretty sure I remember a similar reaction on the faces of all eight of my class mates. That was a tense day in English class.

When she finally put the hair back in the bag there was a collective sigh of relief.

I don't know what happened to Miss Diana. She finished her student teaching, we threw a farewell party and then she was gone.

I hope she found a more solid living arrangement. It gets cold up here in the winter.

Also, if she grew her hair back out and started some new dreadlocks I hope she burned the old ones.


  1. I seriously LOLed. Awesome story!

  2. OMG Joanna I just read this!
    My thoughts:
    1) you have a waaaaaaaay better memory than i do because the dreadlocks and brain surgery escape me
    2) when i read the title of your post and then saw that it was about ms diana, i immediately thought you were writing about her hairy armpits and legs- that is what I remember about her!
    3) I miss that class :)