In Brief

January 20, 2010 at 7:54 am (Uncategorized)

I’m blogging on the run today, sitting in the foyer of Llew’s building waiting for him to finish interviewing someone for a job. Depending on the candidate’s performance, we’ll either have time enough for dinner before the play or will be throwing down packets of nuts before curtain. I’m a little bit irritated and largely without cause, which again makes me think I have more hormonal moodswings off the drugs than on – who knew? Anyway, I’m going to resort to point form in an effort to get this thing done.

* Moments ago there was a man sitting opposite me with a thick clutch of hundred dollar bills. Having just been to the ATM and caught sight of my bank balance, I can’t quite describe to you how much I wanted them. I was wondering how and when to attempt rolling him when his wife came along and rescued him not a moment too soon. He presented her with a pastry from his coat pocket and they left before I was able to identify whether said pastry was savoury or sweet. The coat pocket pastry thing was slightly off-putting, but maybe because he was holding a couple of thousand dollars in his other hand, his wife really didn’t seem to mind. Maybe she’d been looking forward to that pastry all day. Maybe she couldn’t wait to tuck right in – what’s a few pieces of pocket lint between friends?

* I’m going to arm you ladies out there with one of my last-minute secret weapons. But first some background: I wash my hair every day. When you’ve only got a hundred hairs on your head (rounding down, but still), you really can’t afford to go for the limp and greasy look. If I don’t wash my hair daily, I look like a drowned dead thing small boys might kick on the way past. So I wash. The upside of having such a thin head of hair is that it dries in, like, 30 seconds, so, with the exception of trips to the salon, I haven’t used a hairdryer since about 1992. There’s just no point. Anyway, it was H-O-T here today and the sun was set to Super Burn, so I reapplied sunscreen before I left home to catch my ferry. Unfortunately my scarce hairs copped a serve of it, and promptly gathered around my head to be given their last rites. Looking in the mirror in a rest room confirmed my worst fears: my hair looked unwashed. “Ugh,” I told my reflection. “Dirty hair. Greasy hair. Hateful hair. Grey hair. Yes, there is. There and there and there. And by the way, you’re ageing badly.”

This had the effect of somewhat souring my mood further. I was busily embarked on a fit of self-loathing – in front of the mirror, you see, all the better to berate myself – when the solution came to me: a quick wash ‘n’ dry. Now, this last minute emergency solution has saved me on a number of occasions over the years. I haven’t done it in YEARS as there’s been no need, but let me tell you, if you feel disgusting and grubby and have somewhere to be, nothing perks you up like an unscheduled wash ‘n’ dry. I left the rest room with a determined spring in my step, heading straight to Wynyard train station, where I used to get my hair cut as a rather tall and mysteriously urbane child. They also used to think I looked old for my age; I liked it much better then. En route, the bottom dropped out of my carry bag, spilling the contents all over the footpath in front of about a million commuters. A nice man handed me a shoe, which I promptly dropped on his toe. “I’m determined, I tell you,” I said. “Determined.” He laughed nervously and hurried away. I crammed everything into my laptop bag, changed shoes and continued to Wynyard, where I found several salons all doing a roaring trade. There’s nothing last minute about an extended wait, so I pressed on until I stumbled across a barber shop. There was one man getting a haircut in a chair, his barber, and two more besides. My eyes lit up.

“Would you boys be prepared to do a quick wash ‘n’ dry, or are you strictly for men only?”

They looked at each other, looked at me and shrugged.

“Why not?” said one.

“Beauty,” I replied.

So here I sit. I may smell like a man, but I look like an opening night ready woman. And thank Christ for that.

* A few last thoughts on things I’ve learned this round of IVF. This is an area in which there is no meaningful average, no so-called norm, and the only thing I would say to other women commencing IVF is this: save yourself the trouble of looking for a pattern. There isn’t one, and trying to figure one out will drive you mad in double time. We all compare data because that’s all we have, that’s the vocabulary of infertility treatment:

Number of eggs harvested: 13

Number of eggs fertilised: 7

Number of eggs transferred: 1

Number of eggs frozen: 1

Take home babies: nil

Another friend’s stats read something like this:

Number of eggs harvested: 25

Number of eggs fertilised: 12

Number of eggs transferred: 1

Number of eggs frozen: 8

Take home baby: 1

Everyone has wildly different results, we have nothing in common but the fact of IVF itself. Even that changes from woman to woman: the drugs, the dosages, the side effects. All of it. The lot, the whole thing. Ten attempts and no take home baby. Eight attempts and one take home baby. One attempt and no take home baby. One attempt and take home twins. Honestly? There is no point, in my opinion, looking at anyone else’s situation trying to discern something of my own. And I think there’s freedom in that, and instead of making me want to compulsively compare notes with other women, it makes me hopefully better able to focus on just trying to support them instead.

* Llew’s here, play starts in an hour across town, so it could well be cashews for dinner.



  1. Catherine said,

    Baby powder – my hairdresser swears by it for an on-the-go de-grease. Rub a little up top and it sucks that oil right up. Not sure how that would go with dark hair though, might find yourself with a little extra grey if you don’t give it a real good fluffing.

    • doctordi said,

      Yeah, I’ve heard of this talcum powder wizardry, C… but I think it’ll make me look a little Halloween-ish… plus looking a little extra grey is just not the look I’m going for right now!

  2. Pete said,

    Way to go with the wash-and-go. Sorry if that sounds like doggerel. And hope you were throwing the cashews down your throats and not at the performers.

    • doctordi said,

      It does conjure a sudsy dog wash, Pete – why is that??!! I wasn’t throwing anything down my throat except a fist to stop from screaming!

  3. Grad said,

    I love the wash and dry story. Only, I thought you were going to say that you stuck your head in the sink and washed it in the ladies room. How was the play and which play was it? After a dinner of cashews that pocket pastry might have looked rather good.

  4. doctordi said,

    You know, Graddikins, sometimes I just need to call in the reinforcements. And I can’t just wet my hair and dry it (although I have done amazing red wine stain removal work in many a restaurant bathroom armed with nothing more than soap and a hand-dryer) because unless it’s washed with shampoo, it doesn’t work and in fact is even worse. The sheer decadence of the emergency wash ‘n’ dry means it’s really a rare event, but it’s oh so worth it when those days arrive. I would have eaten that pastry during the play for sure. In fact, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I really, really wanted it, lint balls and all.

  5. litlove said,

    I thought the same thing as Grad! But no, the solution was much more dramatic and fun. Do hope you got dinner before the play, and that it didn’t come out of Llew’s pocket…. (eww).

  6. davidrochester said,

    This whole thing makes me feel much better about the fact that I usually have my hair cut at a place where I come out smelling like a woman. I am glad to know that I am not alone in my tonsorial transgenderism.

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