My head has no dandruff, or even slightly dry skin. No eczema or bedbugs, either. Yet, I’ve found myself increasingly going to it for good scratch lately. That’s because head scratching is the physical manifestation of the acronym WTF? It’s a way of communicating to those around you, “Please help me understand what the hell is going on here” in a non-judgmental way.
There are other uses for head scratching, however, that are a little more personal.
I’ve always been soothed by scratching my own head, in a rhythmic, gentle way. It isn’t anything that most people would even notice; then again, maybe the whole town thinks I have lice. Nonetheless, I can frequently be found scratching my head, whether I’m watching TV, or trying to come up with an intelligible paragraph at work, or actively participating in (enduring) a conversation with someone (misguided soul) I know. Usually, I’ve got my sunglasses on as well, which really helps me to focus on the head-scratching – in other words, my eyes can’t betray what my scratching is helping my ears to hear. There I am scratching imaginary little mini-paths around my scalp, as I’m calmed into a trance that keeps me from making comments like, “What the fuck are you talking about? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Are you really going there?”
Instead, I let my fingers do the walking, as I do the talking: “Huh. Interesting. Wow. That’s a head scratcher, fo sho.” It helps so much that occasionally, I start to nod off. This is when people usually say, “Well, see you later!” and I say, “Where’d I park?” and we both walk away scratching our heads.
We’ve all been there, and we all know it.
Those moments don’t hold a candle to the head scratching opportunities my kids give me. These moments are like terrible hybrids of both of the above: a little bit sedation, a little bit confusion, all rolled up into one, long, scratch. This week alone, two stand out:
Child (with panic): “Mom, I can’t find my shoes anywhere! I’m late!
Mom: “Have you looked everywhere?”
Child: “Yes! I need them now! Mom! Help me!”
Mom: “You checked the shoe basket?”
Mom: “Here they are, in the shoe basket.”
Scratch, scratch, scratch.
Later the SAME day, but with different child, whose name I’ve changed to protect the loony, I was again faced with a moment so odd that I decided to write them both down. Hence, this blog.
(sound of phone ringing)
Doris: “Hi Lisa. I can’t find my folder and I need it.”
Me: “Where is it?”
Doris: “Upstairs on my desk.”
Me: “Ok, no problem, I’ll bring it to you.”
(sound of phone hanging up.)
This really wasn’t a problem, because the child in question never leaves stuff behind. I’m happy to accommodate freak-of-nature situations now and then. Unfortunately, the folder was not on the desk, nor anywhere else that I could see. I called her back.
Me: “Hi, this is Lisa Lucke. May I speak to Doris?”
(sound of Doris picking up the phone)
Me: “Um, I can’t find it. Where else could it be? “
Doris: “Well, I’m not sure. I thought it was in my backpack. I’ve looked through it three times.”
Me: “Let me walk around the house again….(sound of me entering every room, looking under, behind and inside of every conceivable hiding spot.) “Nope, I just don’t see it.”
Doris: “That is SO weird.”
Then came the sentence that I always ask, and the same one that results in my hand springing up to my head:
Me: “Where was it the last time you saw it?”
Doris: “Here at school yesterday.”
Me: “You didn’t use it at home last night?”
Doris: “No, I didn’t have any homework. I didn’t even open my backpack at all.”
Ideas were beginning to take shape. The scratching intensified.
Me: “Have you checked your desk?”
What happens when a good scratch isn’t enough? Pocket-sized defibrillators that I keep in my purse, or in my jog bra, along with my iPod, cell phone, keys and boobs?
Funniest thing of all is that on this very morning, I couldn’t find my keys. After I shooed all kids out the door, and insisted that my husband, a.k.a., “The Finder” help me, I found them myself.
In my purse.