I generally try not to get my hair cut in January, because it has never worked out for me.

This is because January–well, it’s one of the Dissatisfaction Months, especially toward the end of the month when it’s just been too cold for too long. It is easy to mistake Sick of Winter with Sick of Hair…and many is the time I have wandered into a hair establishment on a 17 degree day and said, “DO SOMETHING! HEEEEELLLLP!”

And come out looking like Frank Sinatra.

This problem is compounded when you’re at home, supposed to be writing a book, all alone. A lot of people don’t realize that maybe 60 percent of writing is pacing. The words don’t just come to you when you’re sitting in the chair, waiting for them, you know. Often you have to walk around and look for them–and sometimes those walks take you to your bathroom mirror where you look at yourself and think, “I don’t think I can go on with these bangs.”

Another time you pass the mirror and you think, “WHAT?! This is the color of hair I’ve been walking around with– when meanwhile, there are rows of packages in the drug stores that would completely solve this in 30 quick minutes?!”

And so there I was recently, on a really cold, cold January day, with the cold seeping in underneath the door and through the windowpanes, and I was unable to think of what needs to happen next in the confrontation scene I was writing–a Really Important Scene between the man and the woman when they start to banter a little bit and then it turns into a major argument that neither can back down from. And me with my bangs the way they were.

Clearly, it wasn’t going to work. So to make a long, painful story short, I went to the drug store and bought a hair coloring kit. And I came home, used it, AND cut my bangs.

And the next day I bought another hair coloring kit and fixed up what had been done the day before.

And cut the sides of my hair.

And then today I called my hairdresser and said, “I. Must. See. You. Today.”

Hairdressers are like psychologists and social workers. They are listening for a certain tone of voice. And mine let me come right down, and she spoke soothingly to me, the way you would to somebody who was standing on a ledge outside a building.

Sometimes hairdressers scold you for doing your own hair, as though you are a non-union person trying to do a union person’s job, and they might have to write you up. And judging by the damage you have done, OSHA just may have to get involved.

But this one didn’t. She trimmed it up without comment, and said the color really looked fine, considering everything. And she asked me what page I am on in my book, and I told her about the confrontation scene I was writing, and she said that sounded good to her, it sounded like just what would happen between characters in a book, and then we made another appointment for a month, and as I was leaving, she said, “Everything’s going to be fine, you know.”

And I said, “Thank you.” And came home and finished the scene.

I honestly do not know what that was all about.