"Raining" is actually a misnomer for what's going on here. You know all that rain we didn't get for the past three months? It's pouring out of the sky in a thundering, crashing deluge that started about mid-morning and hasn't let up for about twelve hours. The kind of rain that no windshield wiper known to mankind can keep up with. The kind of rain that turns blacktop into a sponge that soaks up headlights like a black hole in space.
So, of course, I chose tonight after work to run a couple of piddly errands on my way home. I needed to get my awful haircut fixed, and I needed to pick up a couple of items at WalMart. No biggie, right? And yet, I managed to turn my usual half hour drive home into a four hour trip through hell. I pride myself on being pretty independent, especially behind the wheel of a car, and I've driven all over Southern Illinois just for fun, but I may never leave the house again.
My first stop was the mall in Carbondale. It was raining ... hard ... but it was still daylight, so it was merely inconvenient. When I got to the hair salon, the evil incompetent ninny who butchered my hair last weekend was the only haircutter standing around, so instead of confronting her with my weed-whacked noggin, I went shopping and tried to screw up the courage to face her. I finally figured out how to approach the problem diplomatically, but when I went back she was gone. I breathed a sigh of relief and asked the receptionist for someone REALLY GOOD to fix my haircut. She had me talk to a pleasant, competent woman named Julie, who was appropriately appalled, but assured me she could fix it. She had to finish a hair color on someone, so I sat and waited.
When she finally got to me, she looked through the disaster on my head and we discussed what the hell is wrong with the girl who cut it in the first place. Julie said, "She's nervous and doesn't know how to talk to people." Talk about your understatements! I also suspect she lied to get the job and has never seen the inside of a beauty school. I lied about my experience (or lack thereof) to get a bartending job once, but anyone can pour a shot and a beer. It's another thing to attack people with sharp, pointy objects.
As it turned out, Julie has cut Ev's hair before and she remembered what I'm supposed to look like. She also finds us funny and charming, so she hugged me and apologized and admitted that it was, for sure, the worst haircut she'd ever seen. She warned me that the only way to fix it was (as I suspected) to cut just about all my hair off ... which she proceeded to do. Now I don't have odd chunks of variable length hair, but I do have a weird horizontal stripe straight across the back of my head. I asked her what the hell it was and she said (sigh), "uh ... that's a patch of gray hair." I also noted two other large-ish patches below it, and marveled at how distinct they are against my flesh without all that pesky hair covering it. I commented that I looked like a hairless dalmation, which Julie found hilarious. I'm less amused, but at least I don't have to see the back of my head.
She had to charge me for the second haircut (which I assured her was worth it if she could fix it, and I tipped her generously on top of that) but she gave me the corporate phone number and said to call them and give them her name and they should send me coupons for several free haircuts.
When I left the mall I was still thinking about my hairless head, and I took a different parking lot exit than I usually do. I ended up on an unfamiliar street, thinking I was headed for the main street through Carbondale, but it was dark (and rainy) and I got so completely turned around I ended up going in the opposite direction. I kept watching for street signs, but I couldn't see for shit, so I didn't figure out where I was until I realized I was headed for Little Grassy Lake. The road to Little Grassy is a winding, two lane blacktop through the woods, and by now it was way past dark, and the fog was getting heavier by the minute. As I drove slowly through the rain and fog, with leaves and all kinds of shit blowing around, I must have run over a couple of hundred hopping frogs. I had just finished swerving to narrowly avoid smashing a 'possum (who did not lay down and play dead, but ran like hell), when I came around a curve and was blinded by oncoming headlights which prevented me from seeing the HUGE FUCKING DEAD TREE that had fallen and was laying across both lanes until I was already running into it. I drive a low-slung Chrysler Sebring which is great for hugging wet curves but not so great for driving over fallen trees. I couldn't swerve and I couldn't stop, but luckily I crashed into the branchy part and not the trunk, so other than the crunching noises and flying chunks of dead tree limbs, there was no harm done. I fully expected all my tires to go flat, but they didn't ... and the front of my car is miraculously unscathed. Just after the spillyway, I came to the road leading through Giant City ... the deer capital of Southern Illinois. The only thing that hadn't yet happened was hitting a deer, and I seriously considered driving to the Giant City Lodge, calling Ev and telling her I wasn't budging until she came to rescue me, but I pressed on, creeping through Giant City at about 25 mph, dodging oncoming cars careening around the blind curves, and finally made it back to the highway. The rest of the drive home was uneventful, except for the continuation of driving, blinding rain.
I stopped at WalMart for the two items I needed, grateful to be back in familiar territory, and made a mad dash for the door. The rain was pouring so hard it sounded like being in a barrel going over Niagara Falls, so I decided to shop until I could reasonably get back to the car. I bought myself a couple of $5.00 sweatshirts and some cheap yarn from the bargain bin to make us pretty winter scarves and a new broom. I finally made it home at 9:15 ... bald, wet and traumatized.
I can't say I enjoyed my evening, but I'm proud of myself for surviving it and not crying or calling Ev to fetch me home from Giant City Lodge.