Bad Hair Day

Bad Hair Day

Want to know what it’s like to have a bad hair day as a redhead? Let me tell you about mine:

Last night, my FOBby roommate, who my ex-lover rudely nicknamed Mu Shu Pork, came home at 3 a.m. and began to screech at the top of her lungs. Singing — or attempting to — is apparently her newest hobby. Needless to say, she woke me up.

Because I am I redhead, I seem to have a lot of minor health issues. One of them being insomnia.

So waking up at 3 a.m. wouldn’t be all that big of a deal except that when I am woken up between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m., I can rarely fall back asleep.

One of the things that I’ve realized keeps me awake sometimes is that I didn’t eat enough before going to bed. Another health issue I have is reactive hypoglycemia. If I don’t eat enough to keep my blood sugar level, I faint. (Not to be confused with hypoglycemia caused by insulin taken for diabetes. In fact, hypoglycemia and diabetes are quite opposite from each other.)

So sometimes I find if I eat a banana or whatever I have on hand when I can’t sleep, it helps me fall back into the land of dreams. Last night, all I had on hand was some leftover Thai takeout.

Because I’m a redhead, and redheads are allergic to everything, I am not entirely sure the noodles were safe for me to eat. I took a chance on ordering them realizing the menu did not distinguish that they were rice noodles like some of the other noodle dishes. Unfortunately, most of the dishes with rice noodles also had peanuts. I’m allergic to dairy and eggs and peanuts, so you can see my dilemma here. The noodles may have been egg noodles, or made with milk. I didn’t feel very well after I ate the dish the first time, but that also could’ve just been because it was spicy.

I’ve also been taking magnesium to help with my insomnia. Most people, redheads or not, are deficient in magnesium. You can get small amounts of it from avocados, oatmeal and almonds. But not that much. Anyway, magnesium can make your stool looser.

So after I finally fell asleep again and woke up when I was actually supposed to, I wasn’t even able to hate myself for scrolling through every possible useless social media app in an attempt to wake up. Instead, my stomach told me to rub my butt on the porcelain crown … for good luck. Or something.

Thankfully, despite my submarine, the toilet still flushed. I don’t really know how I can be so loose and yet shoot torpedoes at the same time. Probably another rare disease only gingers have. My doctor thinks it may be Crohn’s.

Anyway, I then proceeded to hop in the shower. I was on sixth day hair. Really gross. Normally I wash it on the fourth day, and even that’s pushing it.

My hair is also long enough that having to wash my hair is now a legitimate excuse. So normally I don’t like to wash it in the morning before work, because it takes waaay too long. Since it took so long, I didn’t have time to really make it look good. (If you have curly hair, you know what I’m talking about.)

So then I hopped in my car with my sub-par hair. As soon as I pulled onto the street, I saw police cars, ambulances, a T-boned car. It takes me somewhere between 1 hour 15 minutes and 4 hours to get to work most days, depending on whether or not it is cloudy or if Obama happens to be in town. I always say it’s not a matter of if, but when I get into a real accident. So seeing other crashes usually freaks me out quite a bit, and I worry it’s a foreboding of what’s to come for me.

I continued on my way to work as I had no other choice except to get fired. On my way to work, my stomach started cramping up again. If you know Chicago traffic, you know that getting to the nearest exit ramp during rush hour could be put to a 20-minute, quite risky, process. I was so fearful I was going to get the shits and not make it to a gas station or something. Diarrhea in a gas station bathroom sounds like torture, doesn’t it? Worse than waterboarding! What would if I soiled my pants while driving? How could I possibly go into a store and buy new pants like that? No way was I turning around and going home.

Luckily, I made it to work and tried to go to the bathroom right away. False alarm. But my hair still look like shit. So there was that.

For the rest of the morning, I did my normal “pretend to work” thing while thinking about what I’d really like to be doing until I finally decided to go to Mariano’s for a salad. Despite it raining and possibly hailing.

As I walked to my car, I slipped on the wet concrete and fell. I didn’t hurt myself at all, but only a few weeks ago, one of three people on my team fell and broke both bones in her forearm, requiring metal screws and five days of PTO plus medical leave to heal. My other co-worker is now working two jobs to make up for it. I really don’t want my PTO being taken away, or metal screws, or an ER bill, or for my co-worker to be the lone wolf at the office. So I was quite frightened of falling and actually hurting myself.

I got to Mariano’s and marveled at how fresh their produce looks in the winter. I loaded my salad up with my favorites: green olives, stuffed grape leaves, blueberries for the antioxidants. I paired it with some kombucha for easy digestion and a highly affordable $16 lunch.

While I was topping my salad, I talked myself into believing I had caught the attention of an attractive man, also salading. I saw him look at me once, lingeringly. So I decided to try to eye fuck him. Then he looked away quickly. I wondered what he saw in me, since I looked like shit, and I felt he was a few points above me on the attractiveness scale. Did my — gifted — Calvin Klein coat really elevate my aura that much? Was he attracted to the fact that I was being a “salad girl”? Was it because I was wearing heels? Were the stars telling the truth that with Venus in my sign, I am now more attractive to potential partners?

I finally decided my hair must have caught his attention; he must have been a ginger phile. And any time he saw red hair, he couldn’t help but staring. It’s also likely that there are so few people our age who work in the suburbs that the pickings are slim. But even if he was a ginger phile, at least he was a hot one.

Upon reaching the cashier, I dug and dug through my wallet. The hot ginger phile was right behind me in line. Then I realized I’d left both my credit AND debit card at home in my other coat’s pocket. Which I’d left at home. I had $1 in cash.

I’d had three gift credit cards in my wallet, of which I tried to pay with all of them. None worked. After I started to leave and the cashier threw out my so lovingly crafted salad (as I watched her tell my story, with judgment, to her co-worker), I remembered how our mothers and grandmothers used to pay for groceries: with checks. So I asked if I could use my checkbook to pay, and they didn’t seem to understand that I wanted to write a check — not just use the numbers on the check like a debit card.

I left in tears. Between normal single 29-year-old anxiety about the future in all aspects of life, a groundhog’s day-like job and very little sleep, I broke. But mostly, I was super embarrassed. (And secretly wished the ginger phile had offered to pay for me so that we could have a lovely meet-cute story about the time I was an airhead and tried to buy lunch without any money and he came to my rescue like freakin’ Batman.)

Because of the reactive hypoglycemia and last time I’d ate being 3 a.m., I couldn’t risk not eating something. Especially because I’d have to drive home — probably a two-and-a-half to three-hour affair, considering the rain. And I’ve learned the hard way that driving without eating, or with eating the wrong thing, is a dangerous thing for me to do.

Ever resourceful, since I’m a redhead, I thought about my options. I honestly considered stealing from a snack bar at work and pretending to myself that I’d pay it back the next day. (Despite being a ginger, I’ve never once stolen anything, nor felt the desire to. I take pride in being able to pay for my own shit. I guess that is the definition of feisty ginger independence.) I thought about scavenging the office post-lunch to see what was leftover from catered meetings. But because of my food allergies, I knew I’d likely have very few options. Plus, since it was raining, it was very unlikely people would bring food in. (And my instinct here turned out to be right. The one department that ALWAYS has leftover food had none today.) Then, I realized I had two Starbucks gift cards that I always forget about because I bring my own tea to work to save money, and because a lot of tea makes me feel sick, especially if it has “natural flavors” as an ingredient. Which is most tea at Starbucks. So I went on the Starbucks website to figure out that I had about $10 left on my cards. Then I went on PETA’s website to figure out what the heck was vegan at the coffee shop. Since I can’t eat dairy or eggs.

Luckily, I was able to snag a multigrain bagel, and I ended up getting a coffee with coconut milk in it. I don’t drink coffee usually because as a super sensitive ginger, coffee makes me crazy. But I needed the coconut milk calories and knew for sure that coffee was vegan, unlike the tea. Even if the diuretic drink might make my diarrhea return once again.

Sad to miss out on all colorful tastes of my salad, I ate the coffee and bagel combo in my car on my way back to the office. Since I’d already wasted an hour trying to figure out how the heck to get something to eat.

Thankfully, I made it back to work, stomach, blood sugar, and forearms in tact.

My hair still looked like shit though.


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  • The Mariano's reference reminds me of someone who wants to go to the hot bar to graze for shrimp, gives me the container to pay for it, and then takes the container back and puts 4 more shrimp into it. Maybe you could have pulled that off on the guy eyeing you. Also, I was teed at that Mariano's for charging me at the hot bar rate for something from the salad bar. The salad bar is really inflated compared to buying vegetables, but I am teed at 2 other Mariano's for each selling me a squash that became rotten in 2 days.

    I'm not sure what was the matter with your gift cards, but one I got for an oil change needed to be activated. I was able to pass it off at Garden Fresh soon before that one closed.

    I used to have some of your toilet problems, but a colonoscopy and eating a lot of kale took care of it.

  • Yeah, it's overpriced. Gift cards were out of money. Kale makes it worse. Greasy foods make it better.

    Guess I have to start on a junk food diet...

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    The Ginger Phile has had the unfortunate disposition of being a ginger since birth. She has tried various medications to cure her gingervitis, including therapies such as tantrum-throwing. Her efforts have been to no avail. Instead, she is trying to write it out, via this blog. Unfortunately, she doesn't think it will bear a soul for her. The Ginger Phile is from the exotic land of Wisconsin, where she had daily inner turmoil over whether she was a ginger or a daywalker. So far, three of three votes say daywalker. She begs to differ, as someone recently told her they would want to be with her if they were biking at night because she is so pale.

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