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WRITE TEAM: Keep rowing until the calm returns

I just wasted 20 minutes on my bangs.

First, I combed them across my forehead. Next, I swooped them to the side. Then, I pulled them back with bobby pins.

Not good.

Starting over, I sprayed and spritzed, brushed again, teased them back with a barrette.

Still not good.

Sighing, I decided to avoid the mirror in the future.

Like most of us, it’s been far too long since I’ve been to my hairstylist and it shows.

It’s not only the bangs that are the issue; that is simply the section I chose to try and salvage today. Every strand of hair on my head needs to be trimmed.

My highlights have become lowlights and the whole thing needs to be reshaped. But that will not be happening anytime soon.

Maybe I need a Flowbee.

Remember the late-night TV commercial featuring Flowbee, the self-hair-cutting system that attached to a vacuum cleaner? It was popular in the late 1980s. Sections of your hair got sucked straight up into this tube part where spacers separated and cut the hair.

It looked ridiculous, and we laughed at the infomercial.

Now, our hair looks ridiculous and no one is laughing.

I am well aware that there are many more important issues facing people right now. Messy hair is a minor inconvenience, a temporary issue that will get resolved. If that is the worst thing I can complain about, I am blessed.

I am, however, concerned about the stylists and barbers who are missing incomes and hope that their shops survive until things improve and we flood them with appointments.

I called my stylist and paid in advance for a cut and highlights whenever it is safe to return.

Small mom-and-pop shops and restaurants need us to support them as best as possible during these unprecedented times. They will need us more when they reopen.

There are as many thoughts about reopening communities and states as there are people. It’s become another battleground.

I read this online, and it offers a thoughtful perspective: “We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm.”

The accompanying image shows rough seas with boats of various sizes and types attempting to stay upright.

We all are in the same circumstance, but our means are not the same. A tiny rowboat is going to have to work much harder than an ocean liner to stay afloat during the rough storm.

The same is true with our small businesses. If you can help them out now by ordering, that’s great. If you can afford to order, you can afford to tip generously. They will appreciate it more than we know. Loyalty means something.

It’s probably a good thing Flowbees aren’t for sale anymore because if I had one, my hair could go from bad to worse pretty quickly.

I do already have a set of clippers because I’ve been giving my husband buzz haircuts for years. I am not desperate enough to use them on myself.

So until we can enter salons, restaurants and businesses safely, let’s all keep paddling our various boats, waiting out the storm, eager for the calm that will return.

Messy hair and all.

• Karen Roth is a semiretired librarian/educator living in Ottawa. To reach her, email

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