After finishing work a little early this evening to make a call, I decided to do something about the unruly mop of hair growing out of the top of my head. After a cursory search on Google Maps for local places that might assist with removal of said mop, I set out on foot towards the nearest town.
It’s worth pointing out that I have been visiting this hotel for months – and not once have I ever ventured further than the supermarket across the road. Today I broke all the rules, and walked straight past the supermarket. After perhaps five minutes walk, I came upon a very posh looking hairdressers with half-mirrored full-height windows, and nobody in sight. I continued on. Not fifty yards further along the road I found what I was looking for – an old fashioned barber shop (although not quite as old fashioned as the macabre looking building in my hometown that I cycle past really rather quickly to avoid ending up in any pies).
Inside I discovered a young family running riot. Small children were all talking simultaneously – no doubt filled to bursting with unending heaps of ideas, stories, and experiences by their respective infant schools. A blonde little girl was called Olivia. Her Mum made her hand in the mobile phone she found under the table in the middle of the waiting area.
“Olivia – give that to the man. OLIVIA – GIVE THAT TO THE MAN. NOW!”
Olivia thought about asking “Why?”, but thought better of it, before continuing her conversation with her best friend about what they would sing if they went on X-Factor.
While waiting, a little boy – no doubt a part of the same family – staggered past me. He was about 18 months old, so the staggering was almost certainly the result of not being very good at walking yet, versus degenerate alcoholism. He caught my eye, and held my gaze for a few seconds, before leaning on my knee, and offering me an orange ball he had been holding. I held it in my upward facing palm for a few seconds before he retrieved it again. This obviously triggered some level of confidence within him, because he then threw the ball with all the strength he could muster – straight at my head. His mother burst into machine gun laughter. The barber looked over his shoulder:
“You’ve made a new friend there”
After a few more minutes the young lad that had been sitting quietly in the barbers chair climbed down, and the gaggle of children gathered around their Mum while she paid. As I was ushered towards the far seat where a lady with a northern accent had also just finished a cut, silence descended.
“Bloody hell! Have you ever seen so many bloody kids? The last hour has been a bloody nightmare!”
She stared, saucer eyed at me in the mirror. I smiled back. She continued…
“There were eight of them in here at one point! I didn’t know if I were coming or going!”
I smiled some more. She exhaled.
“What are we doing then?”
For the next fifteen minutes as she attacked my head with a clipper and a pair of very sharp scissors, she told me all about her running group, a fitness class she is going to this evening called “Insanity”, and how she had to call her husband to pick her up after running 8 miles in the heat last weekend. I also learned that her Dad was on holiday, her brother worked with her in the salon, and that one of her friends worked in the same building I’ve been working in. I think I might know more about her than many of her close friends.
And then as quickly as she had begun cutting, she finished. A mirror was waved behind my head, money changed hands, and she continued her conversation with the next client walking towards her chair without missing a beat. I noticed her brother was cutting somebody elses hair in silence.
Maybe it’s me. I’ve noticed whenever I get my hair cut – particularly if it’s a girl cutting my hair – I get talked to. Non stop. I often hear huge chunks of their life story. I have no idea why.