Riding a bike with wet hair

As long as I have known him, my father has always been a person who preferred to take a shower in the morning, even though the common practice in Japan was to take a proper bath in the evening. Whenever an invitation was extended to him for a fresh bath in the evening, he would stubbornly refuse. And instead, he would take a shower in the morning.

Often, he washed his hair in the shower, too, and he didn’t bother to dry his hair, so much so that water was dripping heavily from his head onto his work outfit and onto the floor as he came out of shower.

When I was young, my father used to ride a bike to the nearest subway station to go to work. Summer or winter, it didn’t matter. 10 seconds after coming out of his morning shower, he would hop onto his bike and leave home for work, with water still dripping from his hair. “It will dry by the time I get there!” was his answer whenever my mother pointed out that his hair was drenched. And it was true. His hair was flat with water as he left home, but by the time he got to his destination, it was dry and puffed again.

When my maternal grandmother came to visit us from time to time, she saw my father riding his bike with his drenched hair and said to me.

“Your father goes out with such wet hair,” there was a hint of disbelief in her voice. “Even on a cold day! It always makes me worry that he might catch a cold!”

At the time, I was so used to seeing this daily routine of my father that I didn’t really understand the shock of my grandmother. But now that I think back on it, the whole scene of my father riding a bike with water dripping from his hair as well as the fact that my grandmother was immediately concerned about his health upon seeing it strikes me as funny – I can’t help laughing as I think about it.