It was time for my semi-annual hair cut last week. It had been nearly five and a half months since my last one and my hair looked…weird. For lack of a better word. The phrase ‘not good’ also comes to mind.
So I made an appointment at a salon that had been recommended by a friend. Unfortunately I didn’t know the name of her particular stylist. Also, I had called on a Saturday morning for a same-day appointment.Which means I got ‘assigned’ to the one person who had a free slot that day. Her name was Betty.
I arrived at the appointed hour of 3pm for my rendezvous with Betty’s shears. It is worth mentioning how I got to the appointment.
The professor had finally, after a good two or three months of procrastination, taken our beloved car-van in for an oil change. When I walked to the oil change shop at 2.50pm, to pick up the van I was told it wasn’t ready yet. Apparently it takes at least three hours to change the oil in a Chevy Venture. Who knew.
So because I didn’t have enough time to walk to my appointment and because we don’t have another vehicle, the owner of the oil change shop gave me a ride to the salon.
An inauspicious start.
Even more inauspicious, Betty was fifteen minutes late. And since I don’t have a cell phone I had to use the salon phone to call the professor and tell him to pick me up at 4.15 instead of the agreed-upon 4pm.
After washing my hair, she led me over to her station where we agreed she’d cut off about 3 and a half inches. She assumed the position of a long-distance runner at the starting line: one leg in front of the other, leaning forward. All while cutting off long chunks of my hair.
It was as if hair cutting was her work-out, her form of exercise. At the rate she was going I imagined I’d be out of there well before four. I mentally kicked myself for telling Jason to pick me up at 4.15 instead of 4. But I’d spied a copy of People magazine with Andre Agassi on the cover. All was not lost – I could use my extra time to uncover the mystery of his marriage to Brooke Shields. And the whole wig/weave/hairpiece business.
Within ten minutes the hair cut was finished. Or so I thought. Even though it was still wet and un-styled, I thought it looked pretty good. After all, wet and un-styled is how I roll. But she wasn’t done. She kept cutting and cutting and cutting. I feared I was going to end up with Kate Gosselin’s haircut.
Finally she stopped. And instead of ‘pretty good’, my hair just looked very choppy; like the kind of hair that would need to be styled in order to look good. She pulled out the blowdryer and the paddle brush and the round brush and the hair spray. And the styling marathon began.
I had no idea what time it was; I wasn’t wearing my glasses; I wasn’t wearing a watch; I couldn’t see the lone clock on the wall. But my ‘inner clock’ told me it was close to 4 at this point.
‘You have a lot of hair,’ she commented as she dried and brushed and sprayed. ‘Do you color your hair?’ No. ‘Do you blow-dry your hair?’ No…I don’t really know how…and my wrist gets so tired from holding up that heavy hairdryer. Betty seemed perplexed – she clearly didn’t run into a lot of people with my level of hair care.
‘Your hair is very healthy,’ she pronounced; the hair stylist’s version of ‘you have a nice personality,’ I’m guessing.
It was getting later and later. And I was starting to panic at the thought of the professor sitting in the van. Waiting. With three screaming kids. I caught a glimpse of the wall clock. It was well past four, that much I could tell.
Finally she pronounced me ‘done’. My hair was stiff as a board and poufy and looked like Rachel’s in the second season of Friends. It’s not a good thing to sport such an iconic hairstyle fourteen years after the fact.
I bolted from my seat to the cash register. I paid, uttered thanks and grabbed a couple of toffees for my little people.
It was 4.50pm. I’d been ‘under the knife’ for more than an hour and a half. The professor had been waiting for at least thirty five minutes.
I entered the van with trepidation. The Hen was wailing. The baby was screaming. ‘Sorry, sorry,’ I apologized as I handed each of the boys a toffee in an effort to stop some of the crying.
‘Your hair looks nice,’ the professor muttered. ‘But I’m not talking to you.’