Greetings! For those of you who may not know, I have been working as a substitute teacher for my local school these last few months. Being somewhat new to this area (If you can’t track your family tree back three generations in a Midwest town, you are a newbie. It’s a kindly type of pigeon-holing used to place you within the context of your forbearers’ social history. For Example: “Are you related to Tom who used to run the service station back in the 80’s till he got the gout? He was a helluva guy, ‘cept for his problem with the drink, and the women, never mind that battery charge, that was jus’ a misunderstandin if you’re askin me” To this I always reply “Wilson is my married name”, Prompting a discussion of any known Stinsons in the tri-county area.), I have become used to a certain level of anonymity. I have always felt relatively free to approach the gas station in various forms of bed-wear, hair unkempt, personality dimmed. No longer. Just last Thursday I was taking my six-year old for a walk, and of course he wants to stop at the war memorial, which is a lovely stepped affair topped with properly armed soldiers. At this point he always wants to perform various poses for the cell camera. No problem at all! He then asks that I strike a pose whilst he mans the camera. Having very little shame, and a keen sense of fun, I comply. I strike my most-fierce Incredible Hulk pose, replete with menacing growl, when two 6th graders, with whom I am acquainted from work, pass by and yell the mandatory “HI MRS. WILSON”! (middle schoolers speak only in caps when they are about the town). What am I to say at this point, “excuse me girls, but I have left my dignity in my locker, could I have a pass”? So, now that it has warmed up, and puberty and the possibility of chance encounters have lured the students into the streets, I am stricken with a creeping case of public behavior phobia. In fact, just today I was climbing the porch steps, carrying my haul of Alco and DG merchandise, when I hear “MRS. WILSON!” I instantly freeze, and like a Columbian drug mule, I look down at my bags as though they are about to give away some dark, and better kept secret. Some of you might insist that I have a guilty conscious. Not so. I seldom get up to no good, but rest-assured, if I do, it will be well beyond the tri-county area (I had a student last week aggressively assert that she saw me in the Lafayette mall. She said this in the manner that I would use when confronting someone I had witnessed sleep-walking in the nude, while sucking on a pacifier). This brings me to my recent hair-care conundrum. Again, for those of you who do not know me well, I am not an overtly feminine gal. I prefer books to mirrors always, have very little knowledge of, or interest in, current style or fashion trends (hence the polygamist hair). I would much rather have a discussion on the merits of various types of anti-freeze, as opposed to hashing out the pros and cons of various brands of shampoo (Dex-cool is a horrible plot by General Motors to increase parts sales). Now that I am before the young public eye, I feel that some effort must be made in the grooming department. I had my hair cut, but the “stylist” was a purist so she only docked me two negligible inches and gave me one layer. She demonstrated for me how to straighten my still, very long hair. All is well. I buy the product, hubby orders expensive straightener to be delivered. I am all set to dazzle the youth with my presentableness. Until….I read product (some smoother cream meant to protect my hair from the torture I mean to do it after many years of neglect. The cost of which could provide 2 female college students with a memorable night at the bar) directions. These begin verbatim with “spread 1 or 2 hazelnut-sized amounts of product in the hand”. Ummm…I have hazelnut coffee creamer, sans picture. Now I generally think that I have the subject of nuts well in hand (snicker), but I am stymied when trying to conjure up an accurately sized image of a blasted hazelnut. Of course in my inexperience, I assume that too little will fry my hair into crunchy bits worthy of New Jersey hooker, or that too much will give me the greasy appearance of a pasty twenty-something who totally rocks at World of Warcraft, but hasn’t seen the inside of a shower in months. So there’s something of a learning curve to this whole preening thing. Thirty-two isn’t to late to learn by far.