I admit that I'm a magnet for funny weirdness, so I can't claim to be completely shocked when things like this happen.
So, there I was this afternoon, sitting at one of my favorite coffee shops in town, reading a book about critical discourse theory and trying to remember what some guy named Habermas wrote about history, power, social knowledge... and...stuff....so that I won't appear completely devoid of brain matter for an early morning meeting I have this Monday...when this lady in a long white skirt with light blue ruffles appeared from out of nowhere. She was wearing a very large hat, which I immediately noticed because I happen to be a personal fan of any lady who wears a hat. I think hats are lovely.
She excused herself and said, "I see that you are studying, and I don't want to bother you, but I have to ask you--Do you miss your hair?"
Upon hearing this, I was immediately self-conscious and brought my hand up to the tips of my hair, where it is just now grazing my collar bone. Coming from a stranger, this was a very odd question. Perhaps even more bizarre is that I had a conversation with my hair just this morning. We chatted about how fast it's been growing since I cut it for charity last year, and how having short hair has helped me make the decision that I am definitely a long hair type of girl and will probably never cut it so short again.
"Your hair misses you," she sighed.
"Well, I miss my hair, too," I smiled. "I-I donated it to charity last year, so it's in a much better place now."
"Yes," she smiled as if this was the most normal conversation in the world. "That was very nice of you. But don't ever cut it so short again."
"Ok," I said. "Thanks very much for the advice." I looked down in an overt display of my eagerness to get back to my work, but she she didn't budge, and I could feel her still looking at me.
"You are a very special young lady," she finally said. Her voice suddenly got deeper and even more mystical sounding. "Your physical externality is in direct conversation with your good spirit. You need to remember that you have a good spirit so that you let other people love you. You can't go around butchering your appearance to make others feel comfortable with you. It's like chopping down the tree to your soul...we need trees in order to have clean air to breathe. Do you understand?"
Of course, I had no idea where this was coming from, but I told her that I did understand and that, again, I appreciated her advice. She didn't need to know that the reason I cut my hair a year ago was to intentionally de-sexualize myself. Yes, it was conscious experiment on my part. Long hair is sexy. I wanted to see what it was like to not be sexy. But how could she possibly know that from looking at me?
She reached over and very maternally cupped my face in her hand. She held me there for a long moment. I thought that she was going to leave, but, instead, she got excited and sat in the empty chair at my table.
"Oh, Sweet Girl! I feel such a love in your life!" (She practically shouted.)
Instantly, I wondered if she was suddenly going to throw herself into an epileptic seizure and start speaking in tongues. In my nervousness, I laughed and crinkled my eyes and calmly told her that she was nice for saying such kind things.
"You have big travel ahead of you and this will change your path," she persisted. "You haven't met him yet, but you know him. I see that you feel him. You are feeling him right now-- in your heart! I see it! Oh, and he is such a sweet man!"
Ok, ok, ok, I know it's completely foolish, but I couldn't resist. I'm such a sucker for the crazies!
"So how do I know him if I haven't actually met him?"
"I see pictures," she said. "He's seen pictures of you. Maybe on the computer? Through a friend? You and another pretty girl who looks like a sister. He loves these pictures of you, but he loves you. He reads your soul. Like words. And sometimes late at night, you talk to him...with an open heart. He is someone who loves you very deeply. He makes you laugh..."
Oddly enough, this was actually turing into something kind of interesting, and I'm certain that she caught my inward smile.
"Yes. But you must remember to be very careful with this one. You are very fresh and tender and he's been very hurt by women in his life. He needs you to be kind to him, but you must also be really, really strong."
For whatever reason, tears welled up in my eyes. I also felt very self-conscious holding hands with a hat-wearing lady stranger in a coffee shop. But I told her ok and squeezed her hand again and thanked her for her advice.
"Good luck, Sweet Girl," she said. "When your hair is long again, your entire world is going to be different."
And I suddenly realized that I wasn't just buzzing from too much coffee.