This morning could not have been more beautiful. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. The skies were crisp blue and scattered with white fluffy clouds. The surrounding landscape was lush and green after this past weekend’s storms. The forecast was calling for a bright, sunny day with temperatures in the mid 80’s and low humidity. I had my coffee and toast while my son ate his waffles.
We then headed to his swim class, followed by a scheduled play date with a neighbor. I in turn headed to my hairdresser’s, 30 miles east in Tyson’s Corner, to continue my never-ending battle with the signs of aging.
As I’m driving out of my neighborhood, I ask myself if I should let someone else know that my son is at my neighbor's. I realize that she and I are the only ones that know where my son will be during the next three hours and she has no other contact numbers for me. It’s a passing thought and I am soon distracted by the right signal light that puts me on the road to more youthful hair.
Forty-minutes later (My relationship with my hairdresser has lasted longer than my marriage. That’s how good he is and worth the drive.) I am sitting in front of a mirror beginning to tell my over-tattooed stylist how I want my hair colored and rejuvenated.
We are chit chatting when I begin to feel the ground shake a little. I look at my stylist through the mirror and don’t see a reaction from him. He’s still talking. Then the ground begins to shake more, and the wood planks on the floor start to do a tap dance. Suddenly the whole room begins to shake and hair products fall from their shelves. I can see the walls and ceiling moving incongruently. We then feel a major jolt like someone shook out the room like a dusty rug. The whole room of hairdressers and clients in various stages of hair improvement stand frozen watching the event unfold. It is so foreign to us, it takes us a few seconds to get up and run out the door into the parking lot. By this time the event is over.
I hear someone ask, “Was this an earthquake?”
“No I think it’s the construction around us,” another replies, “I think someone dropped a crane or something.”
There is extensive construction around the salon that sits outside the shopping mall a few miles from Washington, D.C.. Even though I want to go along with this theory, I know what the shaking was. Having experienced more than one before, I knew it was an earthquake.
I’m standing outside the salon wearing a black robe with my hands shaking. I run in to get my phone from my bag. I want to call home and see if my son is okay. At this point I don’t know where the epicenter of the quake was or what the damage was anywhere else.
I begin to dial my neighbor’s number and the call fails. I call my son’s dad. The call fails! I try to send a text to my neighbor and it doesn’t go through! I try texting and calling my brother-in-law who lives in my neighborhood but both attempts are futile! All cell phones are useless! I try to use the landline in the salon and that too gives me a dial tone but doesn’t put my call through.
Everyone begins to come back into the salon and I hear someone say the quake was a 5.9 s and that the epicenter was near Richmond Virginia southwest of D.C.. Why is their phone working?
I relax a little knowing that my neighborhood is 90 miles or so northwest of the epicenter confident my neighborhood felt it less.
My hairdresser encourages me to stay since the radio news are reporting no major damage anywhere. I’m not sure and am ready to get out of there ASAP. I soon get a text from my neighbor saying that my son and her son didn’t feel a thing and are happy playing Wii in her basement.
I sit back and allow my stylist to give my hair that youthful look I drove so far to get but can’t stop thinking of what just happened.
Thought number one: Why don’t they have wine in this salon?
Thought number 2: I just experienced a major event worthy of world report status with my hairdresser and a bunch of total strangers dressed in black robes with foil paper wrapped around the base of their hairline.
Thought number three: I should follow my premonitions. If this would have turned out to be a worse event, like 9/11, no one in my family knew where either I or my son were at that moment. Note to self. "Always tell members of your family where you’re gonna be.”
Thought number four: My office-in-my-hand( Iphone/ATT) is a totally worthless piece of technology in an event like this. Note to self. “Get a set of walkie talkie’s with long range transmission”.
As for my hair? My stylist was completely un-phased by the event. He finished my color with a steady hand. My hair looks youthful and styled. He was definitely worth the drive minus the earth-shaking moment.