I was running late. My mornings off always seemed more hurried than usual. I quickly applied my make-up and, within ten minutes, was heading to my dental appointment.
I thought a stoplight was a safe place to search for any make-up flaws. As I slowed to a halt in the line of cars, I pulled the sun visor down to look in the mirror.
Then it caught my eye. A gray hair! No, three of them! Beside my left eye, at the temple, were three white hairs. I pulled them up; I pulled them down; I tugged them to the side. Surely, it was just the sun glistening off my golden blond hair. The light was green.
I have gray hair! Shock and disbelief dominated my thinking as I blindly followed in the line of cars to the next stoplight. Again, I pressed the brake deep into the floor as I slapped the visor mirror down. There could only be one thing worse than finding gray hairs on the left side of my head. Holding my breath, I slowly looked beside my right eye. Four gray hairs – shining brightly like beacons in the sunlight. NO, it can’t be! This can’t be happening to me! I am blond – I do not get gray hairs!
Having always looked younger than I was, the thought of aging never occurred to me. I’d gone along in bliss, ignorant to the inevitable. Now at 41 the reality was slapping me across the face—across the temples to be exact.
As I glared into the mirror, I kept moving my head side to side, up and down. I waited to see if the gray hairs would suddenly turn blond, but no, they wouldn’t change. Imagine my horror! Again, a green light.
For the next two lights, I yanked at the hair at my temples – my temples. Men get gray at the temples. It looks good on them. I’m sure by now the driver behind me realized I was in a crisis. He honked his horn, signaling the light was green.
“This can’t be happening,” I said to myself as I grabbed my cell phone. My husband was unavailable so I left a message. “Jerry, I’m gray! Call me!”
I had to lament to someone. I called my brunette coworkers to share this terrible news.
“Nanci, I have gray hair!” I wailed.
“You what?” Nanci knew my voice but had never heard such urgency in its tone.
“I have gray hair! I was just at a stop light and I have gray hair—seven of them!”
I could hear Nanci yell to our 30-year-old co-worker, Beth. “It’s Kelly. She says she found seven gray hairs!” Then I heard her laugh, “Yeh. She’s freakin’ out!”
Turning her attention back to the phone, Nanci said calmly, “It’s because of the stress you’re under lately, Kelly.”
“Will they go away when my stress goes away, Nanc?” I implored.
“No. You’ll just get more.”
“Gee, thanks Nanci!” To add to my distress, Beth informed me that she had more than seven gray hairs in unseen areas alone. You get gray there, too? That certainly didn’t make me feel any better.
“How come no one ever told me these things?” I muttered to myself.
Those seven gray hairs – The Beacon Seven – were becoming a menace, clouding my thinking. I parked my car and numbly walked into the dentist’s office.
As I lay back in his examining chair, my hair fell straight back. He positioned the bright light over my face. For a split second, I was sure I saw a look of alarm and repugnance in the eyes of the dentist and his assistant, as they were no doubt shocked by the Beacon Seven. Ashamed, I didn’t dare mention them. Obviously, these professionals had learned to hide their disgust of such matters. Still, I’m sure they were amazed that someone so terribly youthful – and blond – as I, could have these Seven, mocking gray hairs. Yes, they were staring. I was sure of it.
On my way home, I kept going over my options. For years, I had smugly said that I would dye my hair red, should I ever get gray hair. Then it hit me. I am not getting gray hairs! No. Those Seven are just God-given platinum blond hairs filling in my natural ash and honey blond streaks. Yes, just platinum. They are the Platinum Seven. What a relief! No, blonds do not get gray hairs. I didn’t think so.