How I Learned to Blowdry My Hair at 40

And Other Lessons from Growing Out My Locks in Middle Age

In March 2020, I stopped cutting my hair. Like many, I wasn’t about to risk a COVID infection for a trip to Floyd’s barbershop. Unlike many, however, I have yet to return to the barbershop chair. I am now 41, my hair falls halfway down my back, and I have almost no clue what to do with it.

I never intended to go four years without a haircut. I teach fourth grade. During year one of the pandemic, in the name of social distancing, our school halved class sizes and moved …

The Pair

       for Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan (1969-2016)

Don’t eat the spaghetti, she whispered. It’s funny
—her hand raised to one corner
of her mouth, speaking out the other side,
conspiratorial grin …