Back when I had to work for a living, one of the things I endured was going out to lunch with salesmen from my company and from other companies. One day a man I knew dropped in to see if I was available for a noontime meal. He also wanted to show off his new convertible.
This car was not an especially fancy car, and having been driven around before in Lincoln Continentals and Jaguars, I was not overly impressed. He asked if I wanted to put the top down, and I said no. While he complied on the ride to the restaurant, on the way back, he insisted on putting it down. When we got to my office 10 minutes later, he looked at me and said, “Wow! Your hair is a mess!” Right.
I figured that had I had a hair elastic or a hat, I might have fared better. I also envisioned the glam movie star look with a lovely scarf wrapped neatly around my head, softly framing my face. That was more than 12 years ago, and I had not had the opportunity to go topless in that time. Not until earlier this week.
My sister doesn’t happen to own a 12 or 15 passenger van, so when we gave her our children for a few days so we could run away to St. Augustine, she got our van, too. Since we met halfway between our two homes, we took possession of my BIL’s Jeep. Last Sunday was cool and rainy, so we kept the top up, and the few days we were in St. Augustine, we mostly walked around the historic district. But for the ride home on Tuesday and the ride to get the kids on Wednesday, we had gorgeous weather: 70-something temps and sunny skies.
I put my hair back in a ponytail/bun and attempted a stylish wrapping of my head with a pretty blue-patterned silk scarf. Shockingly (!), real life isn’t like the movies. I am sure that movie stars never rode in vehicles traveling at highways speeds. A loose wrap did nothing to prevent flying hair, and a tighter attempt made me feel like I was strangling myself. I also had a heavier scarf to keep the chill off my shoulders, and I did try using that as well. However, that scarf, lovely though it is, is from the Middle East, and instead of looking like a movie star, I looked like a Muslim.
For a bit, I just let the wind pull the tendrils from my ponytail, thinking it would be good enough. But the force generated by a car going 70 mph turns even little sections of hair into vicious whips, mercilessly lashing at my sensitive ears and face. And when we stopped for gas, I realized that somehow even the the hair on the top of my head secured by the ponytail had managed to get tangled. After I smoothed all that out and re-secured the ponytail, I tried the silk scarf once again. This time, I put the middle of the scarf under my ponytail, pulled the ends up to the top of my head, tightly crossed them and brought them back under my ponytail where I tied them off.
My ears were protected; my hair was covered. The scarf stayed in place. I didn’t look like a movie star, but I didn’t look like a Muslim.
I looked like a chemo patient.
When we returned the Jeep, my sister asked what I thought, and I really didn’t have a chance to give a full assessment. I did enjoy having the wind all around, and was happy to note that I could hear my husband when we talked. But we didn’t talk all that much, which is not normal for us. Talking on a cell phone, even with the top up, was extremely difficult. This is fine if you are avoiding people, but if you are trying to arrange dinner plans or find a hotel, it’s not so good. And if the President is going to visit your husband’s place of work in a few days, it might mean pulling over to the side of the road for 10 or 15 minutes once or twice for him to take a call.
I’m not bitter.
Well, at least it’s not directed at my husband.
The tangled hair issue is something I would have to deal with before ever buying a Jeep or other convertible. A quick look online revealed lots of people who think (wrongly) that a ponytail or a pretty scarf will be enough. Again, if you don’t go above 30 mph, they might be right.
There are two other issues with a convertible. One is sunburn. Bill was wearing short sleeves the first day we drove with the top down, and his right arm got nice and red. Perhaps there was sunscreen in the glove box, but I’m not the sort to go rummaging through another person’s car.
The other is the possibility of theft. Normally I don’t carry around expensive things, but since we were traveling we had an overnight bag, a backpack with a really super nice Nikon camera, and a leather briefcase with a crappy netbook computer we wish someone would steal – but not if it also meant the loss of the briefcase. We own very few truly nice things, but those few things all happened to be in the Jeep with us. While the top was down, one of us stayed with the vehicle at all times. When we went to get the kids on Wednesday, we had none of that, and I was much less concerned about having an unattended car.
But, I do think the Jeep was fun. I don’t think I feel I “have” to have one, but I wouldn’t be upset if that was the car my husband decided to buy.