A couple of weeks ago, I decided to boycott our local chippy. It’s not like we’re regular patrons, but there comes a day (approximately once every month) when I cannot be arsed cooking or washing any plates. The thing is that the man in the chippy has got a problem with Tom’s hair, which is reasonably long and curly.
“Why do you make him have his hair so long?” He asked, the first time. I laughed but he was serious. “This is wrong, he is a boy, his hair should be short.”
That pissed me off, mildly, but I had forgotten about it by the time the next chip day came around. This time he decided to lay into Tom about it:
“You like having long hair, huh?” He asked him, as his wife wrapped our chips. “You tell your mother she must cut it.”
That’s it. No more chip days.
The majority of little boys round here do seem to have their heads shaved.
“Aargh! I mean, what is people’s problem?” I ranted to my friend, “It’s not as though he’s more prone to….
I instantly regretted saying that. I have recounted before here the only time Tom has caught nits, the night before we were due to fly to Australia when he was a baby (the lice survived a rushed chemical treatment, four flights over 36 hours and possibly infected a load of Korean Air passengers who passed Tom round the plane because they thought he looked like an angel.)
Anyway, sure enough, just after finishing school for the summer, Tom appears to have caught nits. I was just combing out the last ‘chicken pock’ from his hair when I spotted something wriggling. I thought it might be a bug from our walk in the woods last night but closer inspection revealed a vile transparent thing full of fresh blood. It took a good load of squashing to kill as well (which was difficult to explain, having recently told Tom to never kill an ant on purpose.) I ended up being late for an excellent writing workshop run by the good people at Creative Tourist and spending the whole session scratching my head and worrying that my hair was visibly riddled. On the way home, I bought a fancy metal nit comb and some tea tree oil
Happily, I appear not to have been infected with the nits. (I am really hoping all the people who were at the workshop today don’t start emailing me complaining that they have them.) And an hour or so of intricate raking unearthed no more than the original lone louse on Tom.
“Why did they choose my head?” he asked, his head on my lap.
“Because you’ve got good hair.”
“Why didn’t they choose someone else with good hair?”
“I don’t know.”
“Mum… Why do they suck blood? If I was a head louse, I would eat apple crumble and drink orange juice. I would still live in people’s hair but I would do nice things like… ummm… go to the art gallery or go swimming or go to Disney World. I would eat cucumber and drink milkshake. Errr… I would eat and drink everyfin really as long as it wasn’t blood because that’s horrible.”
And it is really.
Damn, he won’t be this innocent forever. The cherubic curls are staying for a bit, nits or no nits.
I challenge you to read this post and not start scratching your head. Especially if you were at the Cornerhouse this afternoon.