Zombies Take a Holiday – Stratford, Ontario, Canada

Zombies Take a Holiday
Stratford, Ontario, Canada

The Incident of the Bad Shampoo began innocently enough. Mac and I were getting ready to attend an afternoon play at the Stratford Festival, in Ontario, Canada. I forgot my shampoo.

“Mac, can I have some shampoo?”

The bottle looked like an artifact from an archeological dig. The shampoo came in a travel-size, clear plastic bottle with a gold ball cap. It had a 1970s dime store allure. The dark yellow goo looked odd, a fact I completely disregarded as I poured the concoction into my hand.

It didn’t lather. It just sat there, seeping into my hair.

“Girl, what’s wrong with this shampoo?!” I yelled over the pounding water. “It’s not lathering!”
Mac didn’t answer me.

I washed the ooze from my hair and exited the shower. When I walked back into the other room, Mac stood dressed before the mirror with a frown on her face.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Look at my hair. It’s, I don’t know, limp.”
Indeed, her hair did look a bit wimpy.
“It’s the humidity. It always messes up my hair. You’ll be fine,” I snickered.

Of course, a few minutes later when my own hair refused to cooperate, I didn’t find the situation at all funny.
“What the hell?!” I grumped. My hair is usually wavy and, you know, gorgeous. But now it looked flatter than a pug dog’s nose.

“I told you, girl.” Mac tried to fluff her hair, but failed miserably.
“It’s that damn shampoo. It didn’t even lather.”
“Well, it is a little old.”
“A little old? How old is ‘A little old?'”
“I don’t know. A few years.”
“A few years?!”
“Or maybe a little longer. It’s hotel shampoo I picked up on vacation with my parents.”
“When was that?”
She counted back, sputtering about people and places.
“Oh,” she said. “Heh. Heh. Maybe nine or ten years ago.”
“Look at us! What are we going to do?” I wailed as we viewed ourselves in the mirror.

I should mention that while complaining is not particularly out of character for me, complaining about how I look is just something I’m not known to do. Usually I couldn’t give a flying fig about stuff like make-up and hair. Mac is a bit more conscious about these things. But this Incident went far beyond a bad hair day. It didn’t simply affect our hair. We looked positively cadaverous. Dark circles appeared under our eyes and turned our skin ashen. We could have layered on the rouge and concealer and still looked as though we’d entered the early stages of decomp.

“We don’t have time to fix it now.” Mac grabbed her purse. “The play starts in half an hour.”
We put on a brave � if deathly � face, and marched off to the play.

Romeo and Juliet, a favorite of mine. The players presented this particular rendition of the doomed lovers so spectacularly that I nearly forgot about my hair. Then, in the second act, the very large man next to me proceeded to lift a cheek and unleash a loud, gaseous cloud in my direction. Mac and I bug-eyed each other in the dark. What would make him think that acceptable behavior included expelling loud, stinky gas in a crowded theatre? Onto a helpless victim? Namely, me? Must have been the hair. Now, not only did I look like death, but smelled like it, too. Fortunately, he fell asleep during the last two acts and I only had to endure his snoring and oozing body flab.

As we left the theatre, we realized that we had gone from ridiculous to hideous in a matter of hours. My flat hair entered the hooked-on-Meth-and-haven’t-washed-my-hair-in-weeks stage while Mac appeared rather grunt-grunt-me-cavewoman. And it itched. During the course of the play, the shampoo goo caused an allergic reaction in the depths of our scalps. I barely suppressed the urge to rip my hair from my skull. My fingers twitched with anticipation.

“I can’t stand this!” Mac yelled as we high-tailed it to the car. “I need some shampoo, and fast.” Come to think of it, she looked more hooked-on-meth-and-haven’t-washed-my-hair-in-weeks than I did.

Instead of going out to dinner, we made our way to the nearest drugstore. The appalling price of shampoo completely took us by surprise. Despite our tragic condition, we spent nearly half an hour trying to find a cheap shampoo that we could both live with. I ran out of cash and had to take most of the pennies from the take-a-penny-leave-a-penny bin. Canadian pennies, so it came out to like a nickel in US money. I’m sure that argument will get me out of hell.

Less than an hour later, newly shampooed and showered, we bid our zombie-hair goodbye and returned to the land of the living � with gorgeous hair, of course.

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