When I was 15 we went to Hawaii for Christmas. We flew into Honolulu…I love the Hawaiian language; although, it is more fun to speak it than to write it. We rented a jeep. A decade and a half later the “Wind Blown Straight From Hell Jeep” still lives in infamy in our family lore. Even I have to admit, it seemed like a good idea at the time. And, besides Kali Murphy’s family had rented one when they went the year before and I wanted one too!
Of course we had to unzip all of the Jeep’s plastic windows and put the top down. It was great driving out of the airport, zipping through Honolulu. Air is different everywhere you go. I can still recall the delicate and fragrant humidity nestling up against my epidermis and lapping back and forth between layers of skin like gentle tides on a sandy shore. Stopped at stop signs, the heat wrapped around our shoulders like a tropical version of the stylish Parisian pashmina. My very straight and very long baby fine hair just laid on my back, too dense for the hot moisture to creep between the strands and raise hell like it was doing to my mom and my sister. Their hair had quickly turned into half curly, half straight messes. I smugly chuckled to myself, and am almost positive that my mom caught me in the rearview mirror, because she took a sharp right and rapidly accelerated onto the freeway, quickly passing the much slower local drivers.
My sister and I fought over everything. One of the most coveted things in our young lives was the front seat of the car. My mom devised a brilliant plan that quickly put an end to all the fights over the automotive throne. Since my birthday is on the 23rd, and my sister’s is on the 20th on all of the odd days the throne is mine. Even though we are both well into our adult lives now, this practice is still used whenever the two of us are riding in the same car. And, it is how I came to be seated in the back of “The Wind Blown Straight From Hell Jeep” that fateful Hawaiian afternoon as three tourists made their way to the North Shore for Christmas.
My long hair quickly became a hair hurricane, a furious flurry funnel whipped into a frenzy on top of my head. My hair was going every direction, except the strands that were stuck in my lip gloss like hand prints in the sidewalk concrete. I would like to share the details of the Hawaiian country side speeding by us, but I couldn’t see a thing. It was a plot from a crossover movie of the Adam’s Family and National Lampoon’s Family Vacation and I was playing the love child of Chevy Chase and Cousin It. Even my follicles were flipping out.
“MOM! MOM! DO YOU HAVE AN EXTRA HAIR CLIP?” my shouts didn’t make it through the hair barrier.
“What, I can’t hear you, it’s too windy.”
“TESSA, DO YOU HAVE AN EXTRA HAIR TIE?” I shouted again.
She didn’t even pretend to ignore me, but looked at my mom and laughed. It was a two hour ride to the North Shore. I was going to have to devise a MacGyver like hair contraption if my mane was going to make it. I fished around in my backpack and pulled out a long sleeve shirt I wore on the plane ride over. I lifted it up to my forehead when a gust of wind went straight up and over the front windshield, missing the front seat and was sucked into the backseat. I managed to get the sleeves tied around my head but the torso of the shirt was flapping about madly in my face. I tried to smooth it over my head to contain my locks but then the wind got underneath it and flung the shirt off my head and out of the back of the Jeep. There was no hope.
I begged my mom to pull over. I knew there were extra hair-ties in my toiletry kit, if I could just get to it. My mom maneuvered the jeep to the right lane. The black of the asphalt began to fade as we slowed, and I could see the red volcanic dirt on the shoulder. My hair finally calmed down. I reached back to smooth it out but my hand got stuck in a giant nest. It was tied together in finely woven knots that my fingers, and even finger nails couldn’t comb through. My hair had congealed together and formed a dreadlock for survival. I managed to find a hair tie and pulled the majority of my hair back. I threw on a baseball cap for added protection. As we moved back on to the highway and sped up another gust of wind whisked into the backseat, lifted the bill of my cap off my face when another gust that felt like it was coming from the side launched the hat completely off my head. Another article of clothing lost to the Wind Blown Straight From Hell Jeep.
At this point even I had to laugh. However, to this day I have an irrational fear of dreadlocks.