It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change – Charles Darwin
2 days Pre-Lockdown
‘God catch you!’ came the muffled cackle of my dishevelled locs. ‘Mm-hmm! This is karma! After you go and lock me up, you can now have a taste of your own medicine! There is God ohhhhh!’ It shrieked as I closed my eyes trying to mentally block my ears from the sound of its shrill voice ringing in my head.
It must be Karma. I sighed. You see, what my big mouth hair is on about is the fact that my hair appointment was now due. And this shouldn’t have been a problem but for a series of unfortunate events that decided to threaten the balance of my very amazing hair journey. You guessed it – lockdown inspired by COVID-19, aka Miss Corona. That attention seeking-teenager of a virus that thinks it can just show up one day and take over the whole world the next, actually tried to stop me getting my hair done. Kmt. Can you just imagine! The audacity!
In January, I left my last appointment with my loctician, Lady L, not giving it a second’s thought that I would not be seeing her again. It was now March and my roots were starting to resemble that teeney weeney afro I used to have back in the day. The only difference was these shoulder length locs hanging off it. Not a good look as you can imagine and it required emergency attention. As in – that ASAP, nau-nau kind of attention. But it was looking like I wasn’t going to get it because, our beloved Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that there would be a Lockdown enforced in the next couple of days to contain that loose winche called Corona.
The next couple of days! I thought. I better book this appointment before this lockdown ting got real.
A smile grew quickly on my face. All was not lost. I was chuffed with myself for thinking ahead. If I was able to secure this one appointment with Lady L, then when lockdown did finally come, I’d be sorted! Right? And since Boris said 2 weeks for lockdown then definitely it would be over by the time I needed my next appointment. Little did I know huh? LOL! 🤣🤣🤣 Lockdown would last waaayyyy longer than 2 weeks.
Note to self: Never attempt to schedule another hair appointment based on what Boris says. 🙄
But of course, I didn’t know this at the time so I proceeded to contact Lady L and get this appointment fixed. Lady L, the Rastafarian goddess who manages my hair! Omg, if you see her hair 😍😍😍 She has the most beautiful thick locs that flow down to her waistline. She told me they once used to reach the floor and I don’t doubt a word she says. Her small but warm little shop was in the heart of Woolwich and I loved going there simply because she made me feel like a goddess too. I got my phone out and went straight to WhatsApp feeling excited. Here’s how the convo went between me and Lady L that night.
Me: Hello Lady L here’s hoping you and family are well and safe. Are you still open for business?
Lady L: Blessed. How you doing? We all good thanks. I would love to be at work at the moment. But remaining vigilant. I will diffinately be back at work when things get back to normal. Be safe
I’m sorry. You what?! I wanted to type-
But instead, containing my disappointment, I typed: Awhhh ok. Stay safe. Let me know when you will be open again. Happy Mother’s Day! ❤️❤️❤️
To which Lady L responded: Happy Mother’s Day Queen 💐
Happy Mother’s Day?! What the heck? Why did I even type that??? 🤷🏼♀️ My girl just told me to do one, she ain’t risking her life for my locs and I was there typing Happy Mother’s Day?! Honestly sometimes I cannot DEAL with my nice self 🙄
Anyways, for real, what was I going to do now was the burning question on my mind? It wasn’t even lockdown yet. We still had 2 days to go but my wise locktician had already abandoned me. Who was going to stop these locs going ape on me now? Who was going to save me from the monstrous atrocity it was slowly becoming? Ohh the woes of a damsel in distress!
I could not bear to think of another set of hands whipping my locs into shape. But I couldn’t blame her either? Could I? All over the news you heard it and you saw the numbers. Covid-19 was body snatching like a deranged vampire on the loose. And of course the last thing anybody wants is for that blood sucker pouncing on them unexpectedly. So no I don’t blame her. But I’m very upset about the situation as it doesn’t favour me at all so I’m going to blame her anyways. 😤
Two days into lockdown and I’m now lying on mom’s bed, feeling depressed about this whole hair situation and staring yet again at Boris on the TV screen singing ‘stay home, saves lives…’ He was the only person we seemed to see on the telly these days and that’s because for mom, Boris has single handedly replaced X-factor, The Voice and Britain’s Got Talent. The words ‘Stay Home, protect the NHS, save lives‘ branded across the podium from which Boris usually stands, in bright hues of blue, yellow and red, were now mom’s favourite chant. Anytime I mention ‘going out’ she responds with her Nigerian accent ‘ah, you heard what Boris said oh – staayyyy home!’ Boris had made it to mom’s catalogue of A-List artists and fast becoming her favourite after Burna Boy and Fire Boy DML. A real superstar, I tell you. I never thought I’d see the day.
But if you ask me, I think Boris should have consulted with me first before starting his campaign, cos instead if stressing himself, I would have advised him to take the beat from ‘Bop Daddy’ hit the studio one time and put his lyrics on. That way there would have been no need to enforce lockdown. Cos people would willingly stay indoors and blast their radios everytime ‘Stay home, save lives’ came on Radio 1Xtra. Abi? Is that not the truth? 🤷🏼♀️
My phone pings. It was Lady L. She sent me hair tips. Awhh she actually cares. My mood lightened up but only briefly as I returned to sulking again. Not good enough Lady L. Why would you abandon me like that?! Just why?? I made you guardian of my treasured locs and you did that to me just whyyyyy? 😭😭😭 I sulked like a grown ass baby and I did not care. Why couldn’t she just make an exception for me. No seriously, why not? Having only one customer would surely reduce her risk of catching covid, right? Hmm… Maybe I should suggest that to her actually… 🤔
One week later…
Back at my flat and still no appointment. Hair looking like a hot mess and I was beginning to have recurring nightmares of what my locs would look like if this lockdown did not end soon. I also started to wonder how the folks at work resisted saying anything to me when I was at the office. Their eyes always seemed to be conversating with my hair when I was talking to them. But I kept my head held high and hoped the farther back I tilted my head, the less they would see. It’s also confusing cos they don’t say anything so you don’t exactly know what they are thinking. Unlike my mom, who doesn’t need to say anything. Her eyes say it all. One look and I know exactly what she is thinking of my hair. Trust me, she is praising God that church services are virtual right now so she does not have to explain to anybody that it is in fact possible to give birth to a human tree.
This was now a state of emergency. I needed to figure this hair thing out before mom actually disowned me for real. I decided to try Lady L’s tips she sent me through WhatsApp. I navigated my way to the bathroom. These days there wasn’t much travelling to do so I always planned my next destinations ahead of time. Kitchen. Fridge. Bedroom. Toilet. Short trips to look forward to ey? I was limited in my tiny flat though. The possibilities would be endless if I lived in a five bedroom house with a garden.
‘Keep dreaming! Five bedroom house indeed. ‘ Laughed my hair
I ignored, wet my hair and applied my oils following Lady L’s instructions. The coconut oil melted like a dream in the palm of my hands. It felt good massaging it onto my scalp too but this feeling was short lived. This isn’t going to work, I said to myself. Applying oils alone to my hair would not tame my hair. In fact, it would only encourage the roots to misbehave even further. Clearly I had to take matters into my hands and find a solution quick time.
A couple ideas came to mind. I could cut my locs off. Scratch that. Not an option except my head can magically reshape itself to look like Amber Rose’s head. Exactly, not gonna happen. Next! I could comb out my locs. Again not an option. Whose got time?? Trust me lockdown or no lockdown I do not have the time for that. Plus me and my hair are in a much better place even though its audacious mouth still cusses from time to time.
There had to be another way. I browsed the Internet searching for ‘how to maintain dreadlocks during lockdown.’ On google I clicked on the top post because it had all the key words in the title.. I bypassed all the writing and went straight for the video sandwiched in between the lengthy blog post. To my surprise, the only post on the internet I could find about how to maintain locs during the lockdown was by a white hairdresser. Not what I was expecting at all lol. She explained how to crotchet my locks at home myself. The first thing I would need is a crotchet pin.
A crochet pin? Well, that was the beginning of the end for me. Buy a crotchet pin and then what? I wasn’t feeling ready to be crocheting anything let alone my hair and knowing me, I’d probably just crotchet my finger into my locs. That’s just an excuse by the way, truth is I can’t be bothered.
Not being able to find an easy solution was beginning to frustrate me soooo much. More frustrating than the next COVID suspect trying to brush past me in the supermarket aisle instead of waiting for me to pass. More frustrating than having to wash my hands like every 20 seconds of everyday and even more frustrating than suffocating inside a turquoise mask in the heat of the British summer Arghhhh!!! 😷 I was almost ready to give up and just plant myself by the roadside for the birds to start building their nests in my hair. Cos if I cannot manage this hair, I thought, then I surrender –
I took a quick break from my lamentations to check what the ping was for. It was a WhatsApp message from mom. Probably to ask me if I will finally consider wearing lace wigs now. But no, she sent me a pic of a woman spotting blonde coloured locs. I was a little baffled. Why was she sending me this? The message underneath the pic said ‘my work colleague is doing her hair right now’ Yay great for her, I thought. Deflated, I returned to my lamentations.
This time, phone rings. It’s mom.
‘Hello mom’, I said.
‘Hello? Śe o ti ri message ti mo send si è (Have you seen the message I sent you?). Mom always spoke to me in a diluted version of Yoruba which is usually mixed with English like if she spoke the undiluted version, it would be too concentrated for my afro-western mind to handle.
‘Yes mom,’ I replied in English as I always did.
Then she switches to full blown English. ‘That’s my friend from work. The locktician is doing her hair at home for her right now. I’ve told her to send me her number so you can book her too. In fact, I’m going to book her too! Everyone at work is telling me locks will really suit me…’ Mom continued but all I heard was locktician. Home. Book.
A sigh of relief. I was finally going to get my hair done despite Covid’s shenanigans.
‘…hello, can you hear me?’
‘Yes mom, I can! I can!’ I repeated myself out of sheer excitement.
‘Okay, ko tete lo book appointment pelu woman yèn. Iśe pò lòwò e. Ko śe irun e. Śo ti gbò! Se irun e ki’ o dabi eyan. ‘ (Hurry and book an appointment with the woman. She gets really busy. Do your hair. Do you hear me? Do your hair so you look like a person) I have to go now. I’m on my break and I just said to quickly call you. ‘
‘Okay, thanks mom. I’ll book her as soon as.’ I said, ignoring her comment about looking like a person. When you’re an African child, you know there are some things you are used to like parental abuse lol and you have to just let it slide. This is one of them.
Strange though, mom is the one sorting me out with a Locktician. Even more strange is her sudden interest in locs. Well I never! But I suspect its another one of her phases. Another thing I’m used to. Lol. But more importantly, I was finally going to have my hair appointment. Balance was restored if only for the moment and life was blessed once again. 😊🙏🏼
Photo by L N
***DISCLAIMER: This is a personal blog and usually contains funny comments and statements . I do not knowingly seek to offend anyone with my content. So, biko, don’t be offended.