Hair dryers. I’ve owned a blower hair dryer so long I can’t even remember when I bought my first one. I was probably 17, give or take a year. It was a Conair and it cost about $20 and the year was about 1964. Over the years, I bought more Conair dryers, usually when they got tired and stopped blowing enough air. Or stopped working entirely.

Recently, I bought another Conair dryer. Oddly enough, it still costs $20, at least on Amazon. It was light, small, and it folded up which, for some obscure reason, sounded like a good idea. It would make it easier to pack in an overnight bag should I ever go anywhere ever again. I actually bought it in last August 2020, but other than trying it out to make sure it worked, I didn’t use it. I put it away. All in all, I think I’ve used it maybe three or four times. It was effectively brand new.

Recently, I have started to do a few things that used to be normal. I thought maybe doing “normal things” might help make the world feel normal. Might help me re-emerge into the world, such as it is or used to be. One of them was drying my hair. Blowing it out made it look better. Smoother. Gave it a bit more body. I haven’t gotten as far as wearing makeup. I may never get that far back into my “old reality,” but blowing my thinning white hair dry didn’t seem like such a big deal.

I blew it out last time I washed it — I think it was Tuesday of this week — so I figured I’d try it again.

Right before it was completely dry, I went into my bathroom, plugged in my almost new Conair dryer and it blew up. Bits of electronic from whatever made it work flew out of it and stuck to my sink. Those melted pieces all over the place. Also, there were no lights in the small bathroom the bedroom, the big bathroom, the kitchen and apparently a room in the  basement. Poof.

What do you do when your hair dryer blows up? Well, as a start, you pull the plug out of the wall, though by then there was no more power anyway. Then you go tell your husband that your hair dryer just blew up and he says “Thank God you didn’t have it in your hair.” I think he thinks it’s like one of those big bonnet dryers we used in the 1950s, even though I haven’t ever owned anything like that. He doesn’t pay attention.

After I went down to the basement and flipped the two circuit breakers that had popped, I went looking to see if I had a really old blower. I did, but it was really old and didn’t do much blowing. I’m not sure it was better than nothing, but at least I knew that the electricity was still working. The circuit breakers had done exactly what they were supposed to do.

I didn’t want another Conair dryer. I’ve owned some version of one of these for most of my life, but having one blow up in my hand made me consider that maybe I’d like a better quality dryer. I mean, the Conair still costs what it did in the 1960s and they make even cheaper versions. Are they saving money by having them made cheaper? I though having one dryer blow up in my hand was enough. No need to do another round. I bought a more expensive dryer. It literally said it had a body that was guaranteed not to blow up improved  electrical cord and would get so hot it might melt in your hand.

I’m not sure there’s a point to this story. I guess really, it’s about trying to find my way back to normal and not really remembering what “normal” feels like. Truly, this past year has been an out-of-body experience and it’s not over yet. Maybe it will never be over.

Categories: Anecdote, Clothing, Fashion, Humor

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24 replies

  1. I can relate… I’ve bought two brands of electric curlers online and use the last ones (they give my hair a little body) after shampooing. It’s been over a year since I had a perm and have been trimming my own hair as it grows. It will seem like heaven when I can go to my magician of a beautician again! Hanging on to hope and getting my 2nd Covid vaccine this Friday… Can’t wait! ❤


    • Garry got his second at the end of February and I got my first one March first. So, we will BOTH be vaccinated by the end of this month. I don’t even know what “normal” is supposed to feel like. I have been so withdrawn for so long, life doesn’t feel real.

      Going out again. Going out to dinner. Do we have any restaurants that aren’t closed? Not only a bad year, but a very strange year!


  2. I always had long hair and had to blow dry it as a kid. When I was about 11 and was blow-drying my hair (don’t remember the brand), I smelled something burning. I pulled the dryer away and sparks were shooting out of it–what had been burning was my hair and I didn’t even know it. I shut it off and threw it in the garbage. It freaked me out so much I didn’t use a blow dryer for several years (which led to me having wet hair at school a lot, but I did severe ponytails so it wasn’t so noticeable… until my curly hair wouldn’t let it happen anymore.


    • Mine went up with an unmistakable BANG. There were pieces of torched electrical parts all over the sink — and the lights went out. At least the circuit breakers did their job. We have been having some really bad luck with ALL of our electrical stuff. A lot of it was pretty much new. I think all of it are American brands, but all the merchandise is made in China and while I didn’t used to have anything against Chinese manufacturing, lately I’ve begun to seriously wonder if they can be bothered to produce a well-engineered product. I’ve lost two induction cookers, both less than a year old AND a slow cooker, also used no more than a handful of times. Now, the hair dryer.

      The new one I got is supposed to be a step upward in quality and I sure hope it is. It’s getting a bit expensive replacing each item — usually about one day after the expiration of its warranty. Garry said he was just glad I didn’t set my hair on fire. I’m glad too.

      All of this stuff that has stopped working in weeks — NOT years — is getting a little expensive.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The advantage of being bald is never having to worry about exploding blow dryers.


    • So say the men in my life. But there WAS time when both had hair. I didn’t know that blowing up in your hand was a “thing.” The plug starting working again, too. I guess it needed a rest?

      Also, the description of my dryer includes that it will never explode. I never worried about it before.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This feeling of exhaustion is so true. This past year feels more real than what used to be real.


    • I feel like this past year has wiped out every other year and now, my brain is completely blank.


      • I completely relate with you, Marilyn. I wonder how we will overcome this trauma.


        • My guess is “a lot slower than we want to.” The world feels strange to me. But — on the other hand — last night I dreamed I was driving again and I think I may give it another try. It took a LONG time to recover from the heart surgery, but I think I’m as much better now as I’m going to be, so maybe it’s time to try new things. My main problem is getting lost. I’ve always gotten lost — a LOT. I used to get lost in the winter because everything looked different with snow covering it. Even familiar places can suddenly confuse me. Talk about NO sense of direction. Age hasn’t made it better, though I don’t think it has made it worse, either.

          But maybe it’s time to try anyway.


          • I agree with you, it will be slower than we want it to be. Our impatience might even hinder our progress. But only time will tell.

            You should definitely try driving again! All good wishes for that. 🙂
            Haha, I myself have a questionable sense of direction. I tend to depend a lot on GPS.


  5. This has happened to me too, Marilyn, and I have been scared of hairdryers ever since. A must upsetting experience. My hairdryer was a Philips and was not particularly cheap although I’d had it for a while. There were no warnings, it just blew up one day.


    • I’m glad I’m not the ONLY one. I sort of deduced that when I realized in the description of the product, it promised it would NOT blow up. So apparently, it IS a thing. I’m never going to feel safe with a hairdryer ever again. I didn’t get hurt, but that was both startling and scary. I’ve always been dubious about that whole “electrical outlet” thing. Now, even more so!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yikes, always surprising when something like this happens! I’ve had one smell like it was burning and shoot sparks, but never actually explode!


    • I don’t have much of a sense of smell. Haven’t in years. It has to be pretty intense before I notice it — like coming from the back end of the dog. THAT you can’t miss unless you have no nose at all. But this was for all practical purposes a NEW dryer. There was no reason for it to have ANY problem at all.

      I suspect to keep prices low, Conair is having their units made cheap somewhere in the east.

      I got my new one yesterday (overnight — how amazing is that?), but other than checking to make sure it runs, I won’t use it until I wash my hair which won’t be until later in the week. My hair isn’t gone, but it has gotten thin and kind of fragile. Too many surgeries.

      A lot of washing makes it worse, so I wash it when it feels like it needs it. I have been told by every hairdresser I’ve known that hair isn’t SUPPOSED to be dry and fluffy. The oil is there for a reason. Every day is far too much so it’s about every four or five days and I wear hats in the summer to keep it from burning.

      When my hair was VERY long — below my waist (those WERE the days) — I washed it every other week and it was really healthy. Very long hair takes a long time to wash, even longer to dry and you can’t leave it loose or even a slight wind turns it into a mass of knots. These days, it’s too fragile to grow very long, but I like having it long enough to stick in a pony tail while I’m taking pictures. Otherwise, it really gets into everything. Worse than dog hair!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad there was no injury with the blowup. Yes, working to reclaim a semblance of normal. I got my hair cut last week, back to its usual short length after letting in grow out for the past year. (one trim in the summer) Its nice to have it ready to go so easily. No blow dryers for me, at least most of the time. And makeup, nope, although I did wear it when I skated competitively–performance and all that. Cheers to you!


    • I need a hair trim too, but I’ve always had trouble finding someone I trust to cut my hair. My granddaughter does a good job, but she cuts it too short. She thinks I look better with it shorter and I do, but I need it long enough to tie back when I’m taking pictures or it flies everywhere.

      I really am NOT sure what normal is anymore. I sort of stopped bothering with make up — unless we’re going somewhere very special and there haven’t been many of those recently. When we were both working, there were a lot more “occasions” where Garry was honored or a speaker. We even went once in a while to a formal ball. But now? I wonder if that stuff will even come back. Does anyone care? I hated having to buy an expensive dress I would only wear once!


  8. At least it wasn’t a chainsaw you were using Marilyn, I thought Gary might had said, you can always get a wig dear, but me don’t think so practical. Hope the health is good, those birds need you,cheers


    • You got me. Definitely glad it wasn’t a chain saw. Or even a jig saw! Or a Sawzall. No one lets me use that kind of equipment anymore. They think I might do something really ugly. I really to try to be careful, but sometimes, things get away from me. I used to use as small chain saw. I used one when I was building my teepee, but it was a little one. Good for small branches, but not a tree. Even so, that could have been pretty messy.


  9. It’s a very good thing that the hair dryer wasn’t pointing at your face when it blew up. Investing in a better quality dryer is a good choice.

    I understand your need to feel some type of “normal.” Since last March, I rarely put on make-up, wear really nice clothes (sometimes I stay in pajamas), or try to make my hair perfect like I did when I was working and going to the office. My normal has changed considerably in the last year and not sure when or how it will change in the future, but I can’t complain. Life may be duller, but it’s been good to me.


    • From the point of view of restful, this has been a very peaceful year. Weird, but peaceful. And we got a lot done, though paying it back isn’t as easy as borrowing was. Still, it all had to get done. There was no frivolity, just replacing things that we old or never installed (properly) in the first place (like the gutters). There’s still a lot more to do, but we’ve at least got a boiler, a few new windows and doors, plus a hot water heater, a water pressure thingie (what ARE they called?) — and a lot of bird feeders, not to mention birds.


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