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Why would I dye my hair that putrid shade of brown? That’s what I want to know. Is my subconscious so unimaginative that I would dream up that flat, dull, stupid shade of brown to cover my grey locks? Well, that’s what was in my dream last night. The brown reminded me of the color that the ex-ex husband chose to paint all the second-hand chairs he had found. The chairs were free — the paint was the cheapest he could find. I hated it. Every time I dusted those chairs or moved them from place to place, I hated them all over again. Which is odd because I’m a great fan of chairs in general. I haven’t met a chair I haven’t admired — except for the ones that are so low I can’t get my body out of them. But even those, I admire in their design and simplicity. I’m always tempted to pick up the Rejected Ones that people put out on garbage day. They’re so beautiful but, I know that if I adopted them all, they’d sit here waiting to be fixed and no one to fix them. A girl can only have so many broken down chairs in her house at a time.

At the moment, I just have one sitting in the corner of my bedroom. I couldn’t resist it. It was probably sitting in someone’s damp, dark, mouldy basement for a long time but all I could see were its classic, modern lines. I was with my friend Lynda when I spotted it. My oohing and ahhing about my instant love affair with it was enough for her to heave it up off the sidewalk, put it on her shoulder and carry it up the steep 18 steps to my apartment. It was also very cold outside and I don’t think she really wanted to stay out there while I tried to decide whether to take it or not. She is, indeed, a good friend. Now it sits waiting for me to have enough money to have it reupholstered and brought back to what I know were it’s original glory days in the World of Chair Design. Of course, there is always the possibility that if I do have it recovered it will become a very expensive, albeit attractive, Cat Scratching Post. I’m willing to take that chance — the cats are smiling at the mere thought of something new to destroy. But I tell you this — it will not be covered in that putrid brown that I put on my hair and that the ex-ex put on those chairs!

The question is, though, why did I let Nobu, my delightful Japanese haircutter, put that awful color on my hair? Not only that, she left big splotches of it on my forehead. I know it was only dreamland but, really, I always wonder, “Hmmm, what does this really mean?” (Dr. G has coached me well about dreams.) No one else in the dream even mentioned that my hair color was different. How annoying is that? Are my old feelings of invisibility creeping back into my subconscious? I hope not. In the dream, I finally asked Margaret, my across-the-street neighbor what she thought. She was sitting drinking beer that I had carried back from the corner for me! She was blunt, “It’s ugly. Why would you do that?” You shouldn’t have to explain yourself in dreams (or even, sometimes, in the awake world, for that matter). I told her it would wash away but, then, I thought I would have to go through that period when those grey roots would push their way through the putrid brown which would very likely be uglier than the brown!

If had chosen a platinum blond or fiery red or even midnight blue, it would have been a statement — a kind of shaking off of old ways. I would have felt my subconscious was telling me that, “Hey, Chica, we’re stepping out and breaking loose!” But safe, dull, bland, my-old-hair-color brown? What does that say about how I feel about myself? Rassafrass, as my sister Susie would say. I hope that this doesn’t mean that I am losing my edgy outlook on life. I always think of myself as a slightly quirky, funny, imaginative and risk taking kind of woman. But, then, I also think of myself as being much younger than I am and somewhat more svelte. I’m not sure what my subconscious was trying to tell me with that putrid brown on my hair but, in the meantime, I’m keeping my comfortable myths about who I am to help get my grey-haired self through life or, at least, the rest of this wretched winter.