Picture it. Driving on a busy surface street, just north of downtown Phoenix, I approached a cross walk at a red light. I happened to be the first car in my lane so the pedestrians were crossing directly in front of me as I waited for the light to change. I was chatting with a friend on my cell phone. (Yes, I know I should not be talking on the phone while driving. I was.) I hadn’t talked to the friend in a while so we were catching up. He was sharing his exploits of the previous weekend.
As I am listening, a relatively large woman of color, not particularly well dressed, crossed in front of me pulling a brightly colored, two-wheeled, roller bag; the type one might carry on when flying. What was noteworthy in the scene is that affixed to the top of the roller bag was styrofoam head sporting a wig. The hair was dark, picture Cher in the Sonny years, and hung about halfway down the sides of the bag. There was a light breeze and the owner was walking forward so the tresses flowed gently in the breeze.
My first thought was there was a pet of some type sitting on the bag. But the hair was far too long. Next, my thoughts turned macabre as I imagined a body stuffed inside the bag and what I was witnessing was, in fact, a human head sticking out of the bag. I ruled that out as highly unlikely in broad daylight, even in that neighborhood. Besides, the bag appeared to be properly closed which would have been difficult were she zipping it shut around a human neck. Returning to reality, I concluded that it was, in fact, a wig.
Why would someone travel with their wig on the outside of their luggage? Was she afraid it might become gnarled and unkempt-looking had she packed it inside? Might it have been recently washed and allowing it to flow freely in the dry desert air was a good way to dry it? Perhaps it had not been worn recently, or worn too much recently, and it needed to be aired out? I am not well acquainted with the ways of wiggery. And what was inside that bag? Given that the wig did not make the cut to ride inside, the contents of the luggage must be valuable indeed. Inquiring minds want to know these things. At least mine did.
The picture struck me as hysterically funny. I interrupted my friend’s tale of his weekend in the country to apologize for laughing like an idiot. It was not really an appropriate reaction to his story. What I really wanted to do was hang up on him and snap a quick picture with my phone. Sadly, by the time I got out the explanation of what I was seeing she’d exited the cross walk and light had changed to green.