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Between Friends: Looking at the future through shaggy, gray locks

Last week I got the days mixed up, and today my mind is wandering. It’s as if the upheaval and tragedy of our current situation is like a giant centrifuge, spinning my thoughts and tossing them out at random.

Here’s one: I’m wondering if I’ll be alive when Gavin Newsom is elected president.

I know that the Newsom presidency can’t come until after Joe Biden serves four or eight years and his vice-president, whoever she may be, moves up and serves eight years.

Will all these people live long enough to take their turns, and will I live long enough to see them?

365体育投注My husband says that my guesses about the presidency come not from rational data but from raw attraction. He might be right when it comes to Newsom who only becomes better looking as his hair lengthens and his features fill with emotion.

I began watching his noon coronavirus briefings by accident but I’ve become an avid, every-day fan. I prepare my lunch so it’s ready precisely at noon, so that I can plop down in front of the TV to watch him.

365体育投注My husband eats in another room, claiming it’s more comfortable, but I notice he can’t see Gavin from there.

365体育投注Although I haven’t mentioned this to my husband yet, Newsom is not the only man I’ve been following closely. I watch clips of all the late-night comedians, but my favorites are Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah, especially Noah whose variations in facial hair are fun to follow, not to mention his incredible range of foreign accents and his imitations of government idiots that are right on, especially of the Idiot in Chief.

I wish there were female superstars on my playlist, but I probably need to contact some young people to ask for names. The person I see most often is national Coronavirus Task Force member Deborah Birx, M.D., whose polite diffidence doesn’t cut it with me.

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365体育投注Visual media, like flashing lights at night, attract me more these days than anything written or printed. If I’m not swooning for Newsom on TV, I’m at the computer Zooming for exercise classes or for meetings with my family. Sharing a glass of wine with friends over Zoom has become a thing for many people, including me, as has watching video tutorials on how to cut hair.

I recently began using another visual medium, my phone’s camera, to track the evolution of my hair, as I watch the gray grow more prominent each day. Last weekend I held my camera above my head and snapped a picture. The resulting image looks like a sweep of thin, wind-blown seaweed, like you’d find on a beach, except it’s gray.

365体育投注Viewed from other angles, my hair still has color, but in a month I’ll be my mother, before she dyed her hair. She opted for hair dye in desperation in her 50s after she had trained to become a teacher but no one hired her. “I look too old,” she said sadly. Out came the dye and three weeks later she had a job.

With that kind of story in my past, you can imagine how cheerless I feel about my growing gray.

I’m far from alone in my preoccupation with tresses. When I try to talk thoughtfully about Gavin Newsom’s leadership and policies, for example, someone always mentions his hair.

People mention their own hair as well. At a recent Zoom meeting with folks from Yolo Hospice, one of my colleagues said she had turned off her Zoom camera because of her hair. “My bangs are down to my chin,” she lamented.

“My wife cut my hair,” said another colleague. “We’re in counseling.”

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365体育投注Since my last column, I had a birthday.

Family and friends fussed over me on Zoom so much I felt joyous, the joy tinged only by having to see myself on Zoom. For every happy conversation, there was also that brief moment of double-take when I see myself looking insufficiently groomed, because of my hair, and old, because of my lined face, which I’ve never had such a lengthy opportunity to examine before.

Which brings me back to the beautiful face of Gavin Newsom. I have enormous sympathy for the person behind that face as he tries to negotiate a data-driven response to COVID-19, while dozens of towns and cities urge him to open California, data be damned.

Over his many news conferences, Newsom’s hair is growing, and I can now see it peeking out from the back of his head, like two little “thumbs up” on both sides of his neck that confirm his quiet optimism.

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365体育投注Hair speaks to everything that’s happening right now.

365体育投注Our normal world has been given a bowl cut by the pandemic and the reasonable responses of scientists have been snipped off by a madman in the White House, who is eager to finish with a dye job — although few of us trust the orange bottle in his hands.

365体育投注On the positive side, no matter what you do to hair, it grows back. We can cut it, shave it, color it and ignore it, and still, if you’re not in chemotherapy or going bald, it will grow back. Our world will grow back.

But what will it look like?

— Marion Franck has lived in Davis for more than 40 years. Reach her at [email protected]

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