Hello Uptight,I'm losing my hair as well. Should I keep sporting a ponytail like you, or do ponytails look unsightly on bald dudes?A Horse With No Mane
Dear Horse,Head winds of compromise buffet me as I navigate the waters of everyday life. Storms of conventional thinking disorient me, and tides of commercialism dilute my soul. But just then, there it is. My ponytail. A steady, steering oar at the base of my skull. Giving me my bearings. Guiding me toward a more conscious approach to my personal relationships and consumer choices. I also think of it as the clapper of a bell, ringing out the tones of my identity with gentle defiance. Hear it toll as I go past: "Ding-dong! The back of this head belongs to a freethinking iconoclast! A uniquely serene rebel who never forgets who he really is and just happens to play a pretty darn funky bass!" As this ringing bell fades into a profound silence, the clapper comes to rest again at the cool, calm center of my consciousness.Anyway, that's how I feel about my ponytail, Horse. Is it not quite the same for you? Maybe in that case you shouldn't have one to begin with? Only you can answer that. As for the other part of your question, I'm not sure what you mean when you say you're losing your hair "as well." Honestly, I can't begin to sort out what you're implying. So I'm afraid you're on your own with that one, too.Dear Uptight Seattleite,I'm a ferry commuter. Every Friday, during the 4:40 Bainbridge rush, I find that the other passengers spread out over all available surfaces with their laptops, bike shit, backpacks, luggage, and sundry other gear. Everyone ignores me standing there without a seat. How can I make a stand, er, sit against these selfish sprawlers?In Bad Standing
Dear Bad Standing,We're an introspective lot here in the Northwest. It's what accounts for what some see as a glassy-eyed look, and what causes us to perform certain everyday functions in a distracted manner. Such as when we fail to pull into the intersection when making a left turn, or stand in the doorway of a busy store to check our phone messages. But I say to everyone stuck behind us, would it really kill you to slow down a little and just breathe? For we're doing nothing more harmful than contemplating our inner landscapes. Our phones, iPods, and laptops are irresistibly fascinating windows into these landscapes. Indeed, it's arrogant to insist on the primacy of physical "reality" in the first place. Who's to say Jung's Oversoul can't be found in the cloud of wireless data humming all around us?Here's how this relates to your problem, Bad Standing. You see, sometimes this Northwest self-absorption reaches the point of total self-saturation. Like a muddy hill in the rainy season. That's when a person's self bursts the boundaries of his (or her) body, filling and expanding his (or her) bubble of personal space. This bubble, which normally contracts when conditions get crowded, can at these times easily fill one of those oversized ferry booths. Even at rush hour, with you standing plaintively nearby, Bad Standing.The good news is that you, too, can sink contentedly into yourself. Sit down on the floor. Stretch out your legs and your own bubble of personal space. Open your laptop, fan out some papers in front of you, and stare at your phone. Make yourself so comfortable you don't notice that you're blocking in one of those booth squatters.Blue Ridge correction!The other day I referred to the Blue Ridge beach as "private," which I thought it was, given the prison-style barbed-wire fence and the neighborhood's history as a racist enclave. Well, Blue Ridge resident Roger has written in with a correction. The property around it may be private, but the beach itself? Public as the air itself, according to Roger. Problem is, you can only get to the darn beach from that fortresslike property around it. That's why, for our first annual Blue Ridge Vegan Barbecue, I suggest we arrive from the water, paddling to shore like the beach's original inhabitants. Which reminds me: We're still finalizing the date for this event, but we would especially like to invite our Native American neighbors. This pristine spot is a piece of your heritage from which you've been shamefully excluded. In anticipation of the occasion, I say on behalf of the white folks who live there now, "Welcome home, my indigenous friends. Welcome home to Blue Ridge."Have a question for the Uptight Seattleite? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.