Friday, February 16, 2007

Debbie Downer Does Hair

I got my hair cut last night at my usual place. Unfortunately, my favorite hair cutter, Sica, stopped working there so I was entering uncharted territories with a stylist stranger. There is something intimate about having someone wash your hair, touch your head, come close with sharp metal objects and determine the "look" of large part of your appearance from the neck up.

Allowing a stranger all that access isn't natural. So it puts me at ease to chat with the stylist and hopefully find a topic we click on.

This woman did not seem interested in chatting at all. My efforts were further confounded by the necessity of removing my eyeglasses for the cut. I'm practically blind without them, which only increases my anxiety about the cut itself because I have no idea how it looks until it is too late, plus I was completely unable to read this woman's facial expressions.

I made small talk about work. Nothing.

I asked about Sica. All I got was "she is working full-time at a bank now."

I asked if she'd ever been to the club I'm going to tonight. Never been.

At one point, I stifled a yawn and she said, "I'm tired too."

This was my chance! She'd offered up some information about herself. I found myself asking a dangerous question, "Oh, were you up late for Valentine's?"

I was pretty confident this question was safe because she had a teddy bear and flowers at her work station. So it seemed a safe conclusion that she's not single and her significant other had recognized Valentine's Day. Turns out not being single is a problem.

"Well, I got that bear and flowers and a bunch of presents, but I don't like my husband so I took enough medication to knock me out so I'd be able to fall asleep without talking to him."

She said it totally deadpan and without being able to interpret her facial expression, I had no way of knowing if I was supposed to laugh at this, inquire further, or take this as the final hint to stop trying to chat. It didn't help that at this point in the haircut, she was using one of those serrated razors to hack jagged layers into my hair (see above). Plus, she'd just crossed the line from Get To Know You B.S. into the kind of information you'd only expect to share with someone who'd been cutting your hair for years. Like Truvy and M'Lynn. She had managed, in one sentence, to tell me to stop asking for info about herself by telling me too much about herself.

I laughed nervously and shut the hell up.

Sica, come back to me! I'm scared.

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