Before we moved to this retirement home I used to pop into a hairdresser in town for a trim. The barber’s name was Isaac and he was a real pro. As I came through the door of his establishment, he would motion me to a chair, grab a sheet and swing it open to put over my shoulders and click the electric razor all in one movement. Two minutes later he has finished and grabbed the drier. “Isaac!” I would shout above the noise, “Just blow it off, not out!” I paid and left. The whole deal lasted about 4 minutes and I was as good as new.
Here in the retirement home there is a hairdressing salon run by a lady, called Esther. The first time I went in I was told I had to make an appointment. “For a 4 minute job?” I asked. She didn’t answer. I came back 3 days later and she examined me from all sides, apparently assessing the extent of the job. “Hrmph!” she grunted. What took Isaac 4 minutes now takes 20 and of course time is money, so it costs more too. But she does a good job and I get to hear spicy snippets of retirement home gossip.
Yesterday was my day and 10:30 was my time. I breezed in, greeted her and she waved me off.
“Come back in half an hour. Color problem.” She gestured to a blue-haired lady in the chair.
I went and joined my wife who was sitting in a circle of friends in the lounge enjoying coffee. I too ordered coffee.
At 11 sharp I went back to the hairdresser.
“Come back in half an hour. Still the color.”
At 11:30 I stuck my nose in the door. “Come back in half an hour. The color, you know…”
I went back to where my wife was sitting and she said, “What’s going on with the hairdresser?”
“Oh,” I replied, “there’s some old bag in there…”
Instantly all my wife’s women friends rose as one and I found myself facing a ring of gnarled, arthritic, pointing fingers.
I turned and ran for it, hurdling the first two armchairs and sliding around the third. But I got away. I have another appointment for a haircut next Monday.