Tuesday, March 8, 2011
The taste of gray
Cooking and gray hair. Those were my two latest discoveries. They do not necessarily go hand in hand but they did in my case. There isn't supposed to be any correlation between the two or any cause effect relation, and there wasn't, they just coincided, or did they? Cooking for me is some form of yoga and spirit lifting. It gets me thinking (sometimes just singing). I also do it for fun and get to boost my ego when people like my food. There is something magical in that. I am not flattered when people praise some of my traits (I do have many), but when they say "emmmmm", I find myself saying "isn't? isn't". I now do that so often that I guess many people are afraid to tell me sometimes that my food wasn't so great!. And I got to understand why my parents talked about how delicious the food is while having lunch, while I used to take that for granted. That was fine until the first gray hairs started mushrooming on my head. Everyday, I discover a new one. I have no feelings towards them, or more precisely, I don't know what to feel. I do care but not negatively, nor positively. Something is changing in me. It feels like a new age phase and it doesn't at all give me the impression of any signs of more wisdom. I am just naturally thinking whether I should dye my hair or leave the natural whiteness invade the rest of my youth. It is so sudden a change that I am reluctant to accept it. Maybe growth should have some intermittent phases, preparatory ones in between age eras. When gray hair seemed to be a very far away concern, I tried all sorts of hair colors. I dyed in red and black and I was blond for a while, until I screwed it all up and was relieved when my hair finally regained its natural color. But now that it has, I have to start dying it all again? dye it to its natural color? or the closest I can get? I refuse. Anyhow, this brought with it a whole new dilemma: how to address some people. As you grow up, you often find yourself not knowing if it is more appropriate if you keep on addressing certain people with "'ammo" (or uncle) or "tante", as you used to, especially with a particular "breed" of them, those "tantes" who are age freeks, often believing that they do look young, sometimes even acting as teenagers, and who get annoyed if you hint in anyway to their age. "Do I look to you like a tante?" they would say, although you grew up addressing them this way. This also applies to many men as well. As you approach thirty, many people in their fifties or sixties start looking at you as a peer, and you feel truly uncomfortable addressing them by their names, you are not used to it anyway, take your parents' friends for example -some of mine are truly following Benjamin button's growth pattern- you end up avoiding some sentence structures that corner you to address them. With gray hair the matter becomes worse. You have more gray hair than they do! Now cooking only complicates matters. You are sincerely interested in learning from their cooking experience, but they want to talk to you about liposuction, of course! They also insist that you should dye you hair and remove your belly, because the way you are makes them look fake. The whole world should change for them to seem natural. You are still bewildered whether you say their name upfront, you hesitate and you remember that woman who dyes her children's hair blond so that no one doubts that she is a natural blond, even when her eyebrows and hair roots betray all her goals. Then you remember the first time your mother bought you a bra and how proud you felt wearing it that you wanted to show its laces off, to tell the world that you are no longer a kid. You are a grown up. You go to the kitchen, smell your almost ready food. It maybe smells like your mom's. Then a short glance at your first gray hair reminds you that maybe they did bring with them a little more wisdom that you thought.