My morning is full of rituals.
The same alarm.
The same plaintive peeps from hungry cats.
The same three food dishes for three cats.
The same shampoo in the shower.
The same snacks in my lunchbox.
The same breakfast (toast and bacon).
But there's one ritual that I love above all of the other routines in my morning: my hair-drying ritual.
I don't wash my hair every day (I'm lazy and love dry shampoo). But on days that I do, I take the time to dry my shoulder-length hair carefully, lest I end up with a strange cowlick. Before I attack it with a round brush, I try to get my hair mostly dry. I flip my head upside down, blast the warm heat evenly over my scalp, and run my fingers through my hair as I move the hairdryer back and forth. It's predictable and sort of soothing.
But that's not really the reason I love the ritual. There's someone else who loves it when I dry my hair: My oldest cat, Goose.
Goose is 12 years old, and she is a creature of habit. She sleeps in the exact same spot on the bed (upper left corner). She plays with the same toys (a fuzzy ball that rolls nicely across our wooden floor). She wants the same things (to go outside and feast on grass). And she always, always, always watches me dry my hair.
Watching isn't the right word. She's an active participant and an essential component to cultivating the perfect hairstyle. As soon as she hears the whir of the dryer and sees me bend at the waist, Goose gets up from her "beached whale" position right by the bathroom door and heads towards my outstretched hand. She circles my legs, leaving little gray hairs on my pants. She rubs her head furiously across my fingers, demanding pets. I oblige her as I hold the hair dryer in one hand and try to keep up with her pet quota with the other. If I stop for a moment, she meows grumpily and raises up on her hind legs like a little seal, begging for more attention. How can I resist?
This little ritual makes me smile every time it happens. It's a win-win, really. Goose gets attention. I get a dry head of hair. We both get a little extra happiness at the beginning of our days.