Wednesday, July 29, 2015


In my mid-teens I decided that washing my hair outdoors in the rain would be really cool.  Like many of youth's romantic notions, that one collided with reality.

To soak hair thoroughly -- young, thick hair, albeit quite fine -- requires a pelting downpour, the kind that often doesn't last long and is associated with thunderstorms.  Having a prejudice against being struck by lightning, I passed on those.

When proper hair-washing rain presented itself, the next step was to change into my bathing suit: the two obvious alternatives -- nudity, and hair-washing fully dressed -- presented difficulties.  Even a July downpour is colder than one might think, and soaking wet clothes are clammy and uncomfortable.  The back yard is isolated enough that nudity might have worked if no family members happened by.  I couldn't count on that, and my parents would have been as firmly prejudiced against that as I against electrocution.  In any case, neither option occurred to me that I can remember.

     By the time I emerged into the back yard, shampoo in hand, the rain had often diminished, and I had to finish washing my hair in the shower, an ignominious defeat that always annoyed me. I managed a full rainwater hair-wash maybe once.

     After one summer, or possibly two, I concluded that washing my hair in rainwater, like some of my childhood original ideas -- taking possession of one of the chamber pots in the attic and peeing in it instead of walking a few steps to the bathroom, or jumping off the foundation of the old barn on 
 a windy day with an umbrella for a parachute -- wasn't worth the trouble