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Obsessed with change
Jan. 23, 2012
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by Ivan Raconteur

We humans are a fickle lot. No matter what we have, there are times when we want something else.

I spent many years working as a purchasing manager in the professional beauty industry, which is a business sector that depends partly on illusion, and partly on the notion that however attractive someone is, they can be convinced that another look might be better.

It is also true that many people just get bored and want a change.

As a result, for those who have straight hair, there are tools to make it curly. For those with curly locks, straighteners are available.

Hair color and cosmetics come in ranges of colors that rival the rainbow.

I recall one woman of mature years who embodied this need for change in the boldest terms imaginable. I don’t think I ever saw her with the same color hair twice.

Her boudoir must have resembled a backstage dressing room on Broadway. When I say she changed her color, I don’t mean to suggest that she limited herself to subtle shades of brown or anything as mundane as that. This was a woman of imagination.

One day she might appear with tresses of electric blue, while the next she would appear with a beehive of shocking fuchsia. Her more ambitious efforts involved multiple colors, and on at least one occasion she sported a checkerboard effect.

Her wardrobe and makeup were always coordinated to match her hair, which frankly couldn’t have been easy.

For many people, the same desire for change applies to our location. No matter how comfortable we are in our current situation, there are times when we just want something different.

If we are in a cool climate, we want to be warmer. Conversely, desert dwellers dream of escaping to the mountains to get away from the oppressive heat.

In Minnesota, this time of year can be especially trying. Once the holiday season has passed, after a respectful interval of about five minutes, people begin talking about being somewhere else.

Even this year, which has been unbelievably mild by northern standards, when we have scarcely had two snowflakes to rub together, the migration has already begun.

Facebook posts and e-mails have been fraught with enthusiastic references to vacations, pending or imagined.

I have read wistful musings about white sand beaches and palm trees swaying in the breeze. Pasty-skinned northerners dream of basking under the tropical sun next to sapphire pools, listening to the crashing of the surf while sipping libations equipped with tiny umbrellas.

Others dream of sweeping expanses of emerald fairways and undulating greens, on courses where the rough isn’t all that rough, and the topography is forgiving for those of us whose opportunities are (most years) limited to an abbreviated season.

Whatever our passion, we are sure we would be happier if we were somewhere other than where we are right now.

From our vantage point in the doldrums of a northern winter, we develop selective amnesia about things like mosquitoes, sunburn, and crowds of tourists, and imagine that summer is the ideal time of year in the best of all possible worlds.

Those who are most fortunate among us will have the opportunity to escape for a few days or even a few weeks to get a taste of someplace else that will tide us over until the arrival of spring.

The reality, of course, is that once spring has sprung, and we have had a chance to soak up some of that summer sun, and after some more time passes and the heat and humidity begin to wear on us, our thoughts may begin to turn toward walks in the autumn woods, or skiing on some fresh powder or snowshoeing among the trees.

We never seem to be satisfied with the status quo.

Whatever we have, it seems to be in our nature to want a taste of something else.

Whether it involves our appearance or our location, we humans really are a fickle lot.


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