Yesterday I decided to visit the local “Hair Cuttery” to get my hair trimmed. While it sounds like a chic place where one would peruse a long menu of hair recipes, it’s not. Long gone are my days of going to “the salon” where a shampoo, conditioner, trim and hair product end up sucking close to $60 bucks (plus tip) out of my pocket. I’m LEAN these days, plus… I don’t need to impress anyone with my hair. Sure, it might be nice to color the gray, but hell, that’s lifetime maintenance and I’m just not up for that!
The young “child” at the register signs me in and asks if I would like to request anyone special. I look around for my regular “girl” and panic that she’s nowhere to be seen. I glance quickly around to make sure that the older Italian guy who barely speaks a lick of English and totally chopped my hair off once when I was brave and decided to “try” him out, is not there… and I tell this child that I’ll take the next available (hoping that all training programs are over) “stylist.” She smiles and says to have a seat and someone will be with me in a moment.
She does a quick circle behind the counter, turns and says to me “Hi I’m Cathy or Charlotte or something like that, and you can follow me back here!” Deep breath Ed. I walked to the back with Shariciana (?) and sat down. Told her I wanted to be quick, just a trim, no shampoo required and thought let’s go.
“So what are YOU up to today?” she asks as I stare blankly into the mirror wondering why fluorescent lights are in use anymore. They flatter NO ONE, in fact, they make me look even MORE tired, pale and old. I mumble something about having to find a calendar for 2011, hoping she’ll get the hint that I am NOT in the mood to chat, but you can’t tell that to someone who has the fate of your hair in their hands right?? As she continues… I drift into myself.
It’s not that I don’t LIKE to converse with folks, but I DO IT FOR A LIVING. Being in sales, I HAVE to be nice to people and converse about THEM. It’s a living. I’m THRILLED to hear about your latest political opinion, bitter divorce, child’s kindergarten award or cat’s latest achievement… even once had a gentleman share the fact that he had an operation and was right now with his colostopy bag if I wanted to see! “Thank you kindly, that’s okay… not would you like your sofa delivered THIS week?”
“…do you live alone? I live alone and it really gets lonely sometime… my sister was gonna live with me, but she just moved in with her boyfriend who WAS a friend of the family and he’s 8 years older than my sister… do you have sisters?” my STYLIST droned on. It was at this point that I was waiting for the right moment to interject with “I live with my partner.” I LOVE saying this because it gets a reaction. She stops for a split second, looks at me in the mirror, then without blinking continues… “does your partner have sisters? Who does HIS hair? Why don’t you bring him in for a haircut. My sister says I talk too much…sigh… I guess I do but it’s just the way I am…
A full half hour later she startles me with, “THERE! HOW’S THAT LOOK?”
After looking at all the gray hair on my smock that surely must be from the last client, I smile sheepishly, nod, then follow her up to the register. I pay, then tip her far more than I should have and rush out into the cold winter day. That was exhaustive. I need to go take a nap.