As a teenager, my first summer job was in the parking lot of a local amusement park. The job was outside, and I spent the long, hot days directing traffic, parking cars, and driving a tram. The uniform was dark blue shorts, a white collared shirt, and sneakers. I had really long hair then, and I’d braid it into a long, straight plait that hung down the back of my neck.
I got really good at braiding my hair, and would do it as I walked out of the dressing room toward the shift’s muster point. I’d pull my hair over one shoulder, braid it, and then secure the end with an elastic band, letting the short ends just flair out. Then I’d give it a good tug around to the back of my head to make sure it hung straight down. I was ready for the day.
I’ve been dyeing a lot of roving lately in my kitchen with Kool-Aid and food coloring. The Husband calls me a Mad Scientist when I get out the rubber gloves, and start a pot of water for steaming the roving. It’s a lot of fun. I consult a color wheel, make a loose plan and just start. Sometimes I get blue when I wanted blue, or sometimes I get green. In any case, I haven’t been unhappy with any results, yet.
The end result is a pile of dyed roving just waiting to be spun, which in itself is a good problem to have. But they look so random and messy. I found a video on youtube that demonstrated how to braid the long pieces of roving into nice, neat coils. So I tried it. After a few attempts, I got the hang of it, and this is the result.
The braids reminded me of those summer days in the parking lot, when it was so hot that the asphalt would get mushy and I could feel the heat through my sneakers. I’d lift the braid off my neck and pour water down my back to cool off, and then find a small bit of shade to stand in until my shift was over.