I left the house a few minutes later than normal this morning, and left a note on my work calendar – “haircut”. After the second attempt at cycling into town wearing full waterproofs to defend against the steadily dispiriting rain, I got some cash from the hole in the wall in the high street, and walked across to the barbers.
The first attempt to leave the house had been aborted twenty yards into the journey when I thought “something doesn’t feel right”. I had no crash helmet on. I then spent several minutes looking around the house for it, before realising it was right in the middle of the kitchen in plain view – I must have walked past it five or six times, growing more annoyed, and more perplexed as I did so.
In the warm and dry barber shop, a slim, pretty lady wandered in my direction with a smile, and gestured towards a waiting chair in front of a mirror.
“What can we do for you today?”
“Oh – a zero maintenance Dad haircut please – clippered around the sides and the back, and short and scruffy on top”
“How short do you want the clippers? Do you know the number?”
She smiled, and started removing huge clumps of hair from the back of my head with the clippers.
The next fifteen minutes were filled with non-stop conversation about my work, her work, always being busy, never having enough time to do anything, always worrying about the next thing, and also worrying about what we might have forgotten to do.
While listening to her stories, it struck me that I was the only person talking to their hairdresser – everybody else was sitting in silence. Eventually two of the staff joined in with our conversation. When I was young I would never have dreamed of striking up conversation with a hairdresser – especially if they were attractive. I’m not sure if you grow more confident as you get older, or you just realise that people are people – or maybe you just don’t care as much. I wonder if appearing confident is actually more about not caring what others think?
Rather serendipitously, when the time came to pay the conversation about clinging to life by our fingernails provided a perfect example. The cash I had just got from the hole in the wall was nowhere to be seen. I can only imagine that while standing in the rain outside the barbers – juggling my bike, work backpack, wallet, keys, bike-lock and phone, the money had somehow fallen from my pocket.
Guess who then found himself apologising, and running across the street in the rain to get more money from the hole in the wall? Yeah. Me. Thankfully it wasn’t a lot of money, but I was still gutted.