Look out for one another—we’re not at our best right now

It finally happened.


I ran into my hairdresser at the grocery store.


I haven’t been to the hair salon since February.


For the first few months, I was shellacking my roots with tinted hair spray to hide the gray.


But last week I broke down and slapped on some box dye.


The color I selected is completely wrong for me and may in fact be wrong for all real-life people.


I picked it because the “Red Penny” model on the packaging looked cute.


“Don’t worry about it,” I told myself when the screaming orange shade developed and wouldn’t wash out. “We’re still in a pandemic. Nobody’s even going to see you.”


So of course, it was my hairdresser who happened upon me at Marc’s.


Don’t get me wrong: she was very kind and it was great to do some catching up in frozen foods.


But I swear that I could see her make the “yikes” face behind her mask.


I usually don’t make these kinds of mistakes.


I don’t mean with the hair color—that was a forgivable stumble since I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing when it comes to selecting the right shade or formula.


Have you seen how many different choices they have on display in the hair care and cosmetics aisle at Discount Drug Mart?


I mean I usually am not seen when I don’t want to be seen.


That could have something to do with the fact that I usually travel incognito. My kids joke about my weekend uniform: an all-black selection of well-worn and nondescript leggings and t-shirts topped off with a messy pile of frizzy hair.


But I have also always prided myself on being able to spot an incoming threat who might spy me wearing flip flops to accommodate the toe separators still in from my not-yet-dry home pedicure, or get an eyeful of me wearing a beat-up baseball hat, a nightgown tucked into shorts, and last night’s mascara.


In those moments, I know exactly where to ditch the cart and how to make myself scarce behind the kitty litter.


This time, though, I was caught off guard.


That’s because I wasn’t exercising the kind of vigilance such a situation warrants.


I suppose that’s true for all of us in some regard right now.


We’re all exhausted by this pandemic and starting to drop our defenses.


Totally understandable.


But all the pictures I’ve seen lately of maskless large group gatherings are sort of disheartening.


We’ve worked so hard up until this point to wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing, and frequently wash and sanitize our hands.


The virus continues to rage relatively unabated, so we can’t let up now.


I’m going to redouble my efforts in the coming days and weeks.


I’ll even extremely curtail my forays out into the world, opting for more curbside pickup and less in-person shopping, for example.


We’re going to have to do our part so we can all get back to some sense of normalcy.


We’re going to have to look out for each other too.


Except for me.


Don’t look out for me.


You won’t be seeing me for a while, because I’m going to be staying home.


At least until this hair color grows out.

Read more articles by Kathleen Osborne.

Kathleen Osborne is the mother of three children who now are legally considered adults, although she has trouble assigning that label to herself. She is the marketing and communication director at Hathaway Brown School, where she’s inspired by creative, smart, and confident girls every day.

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