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To maintain or not to maintain


That is the question, but sometimes it depends on what type of maintenance you’re talking about. Last week, I heard many tributes to writer Nora Ephron (who died last Thursday at 71), including reprises of radio interviews where she read from her most recent books. This is from I Feel Bad About My Neck:

… the amount of maintenance involving hair is genuinely overwhelming. Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.

Yes. That is the kind of maintenance that can become oppressive, especially with time. It doesn’t go away. No matter what—leaving out baldness, dreadlocks, or other such exceptions—you have to do something with your hair on a regular basis. Sure, there are women who, like my husband, can take a shower, step out of it, and be done. Then there are the rest of us. Add that to the service calls at the salon every six weeks or so, the work-outs (which become more about health than appearance with time), the tweezing, the moisturizing, and all the other baggage of womanhood—which very few of us can opt out of altogether—and you’ve got yourself a pretty hefty maintenance package.

Not that I am one of those who rejects all that girly stuff (as Amy pretty much does here). I am a Sephora devotee, a collector of eye pencils, and you will pry my mascara and lip gloss out of my cold, dead hands. Ephron seems to have the same love/hate relationship with a routine that can become tiresome.

Contrast that with the hours of maintenance that even I, the laziest of gardeners, am willing to devote to my plant collections. I have needy hanging baskets that, in this weather, need a full watering once a day with maybe a touch-up later to be on the safe side. I have daily deadheading of roses and multiple perennials. I have aphids to hose away, mulch to refresh, lilies to stake, and a pond to clean. Many of my pots of annuals perform better with feeding, which I’m happy to do.

For some reason, I look forward to this maintenance. I don’t ever remember looking forward to washing my hair.

Posted by on July 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm.   This post has 17 responses.