That curling iron represents weakness and I cannot bring myself to use it.
* * *
We were in the USA. Days before Christmas I ran to the mall to buy the last pair of Christmas pajamas before we headed south to my parents' house for the holidays.
I brought Isaac, Hope, and Noah along with me. 'How often do these kids get to shop, or wander around a decorated mall?', I reasoned. 'They should come with me!'
New jammies are the only gift the kids have come to expect every Christmas, but I had not found any for Isaac yet. (Reason being, he has the up-highest butt on the face of this earth and they don't make many clothes for that butt placement.)
The kiosks in the middle of malls intimidate me. Those people that sit on the stools at the kiosk know how to sell. They could sell ice to Eskimos, sand to the desert, trees to the forest. They are the super ninjas of sales and I know better than to make eye contact or interact. Head down, eyes cast to the ground, speed walk past all kiosks. That is the modus operendi. Correction, that is MY modus operendi.
Isaac was doing his Isaac thing, being all friendly and curious and kind. His face says, "Talk to me, you won't regret it." When people test his face, they always find it true. He's the black Buddy the Elf and he slept a full forty minutes last night and had time to build you a rocking horse, too. He loves smiling, it's his favorite.
I was speed walking when a man stepped toward me and said, "Ma'am can I please curl your hair, just have a seat and in three minutes your hair will be transformed by my amazing iron." I replied with zero warmth in my voice, "Nope, don't have time, I am in a hurry - plus - natural curls, thankyouverymuch."
Isaac and Noah piped in: "We are not in a hurry, Mom. Go for it." I quickly killed them in my mind a thousand times. "No, no, we really should keep moving guys", I said. Isaac said, "Mom, you should get your hair curled. We can wait." The kiosk ninja sales man grabbed my wrist and accurately read my tattoo. "You're Jewish?" he asked. No, no I am not Jewish, but yes - you just read the Hebrew on my wrist correctly and yes, you know what it means. Yes, we now have more reasons why I have to have my damn hair curled at a mall kiosk in Waco, Texas.
I sat down, defeated.
For the next fifteen minutes (note: not three minutes, as advertised) my children oohhed and aaahed over my new best friend from Israel's curling expertise. As it turns out he loves my children and finds them fascinating and says, "Is your husband very VERY dark?" I don't know what my face does in response to this cockamamie question. Because, Noah and also because, come on, man. "No, our Dad is white. We are Haitian and we were adopted", Isaac offers. I catch Hope's eye in time to let her know I think that was a moronic question. She smiles, entertained by it all. My new friend says, "Ohhhhhh, I wish you would adopt me!" I send Hope another unimpressed look. Isaac, ever the gullible go-along-to-get-along kinda guy says, "Could you actually do that, Mom?" No, son. No. I cannot adopt a 24 year old mall kiosk curling iron salesman from Israel. Super fun to dream though, isn't it?!?!?
Next thing you know my hair has 148 perfectly defined silky curls, something right out of Hollywood, and that curling iron has been cut in price from $250 to $125 and a bottle of shampoo and conditioner has been added to sweeten the deal and I am saying, "No, no, no, no. I don't want a curling iron!!!"
That is, right up until I somehow got so sick of the entire scene and the way nobody was listening to my "no" and somehow I bought the flipping expensive curling iron that I did not need or want. At all at all.
My oldest daughter, Britt, has witnessed an occasion where I made a purchase I did not want to make because of a crafty salesperson. She also witnessed me going back into the store fourteen minutes after the purchase to return the item. Sadly, my shame got the best of me on that particular December day and that curling iron was never returned.
My tattoo is the Hebrew word amets - essentially it means "to be stout, strong, bold, and alert" - it is most similar to the Middle English word courage ... of which I had none on this particular day.
What I do have, 9 months later, is a very expensive unused curling iron.