I took an hour to myself this afternoon and went to Beve's favorite hairdresser to get a haircut. For the last six months, I've been going to my daughters' extra-fancy, extra-expensive salon. And I just can't do it. It's too big a commitment. I'm the kind of person who went years without a haircut, once I was old enough to make hair decisions myself. Early decisions were made by my mother and might be classified in some cultures as kinds of torture. My hair was sometimes pulled tightly back from my skull, curled in rags, or bobby-pins or very hard curlers. I had to sleep in whichever of these my mother chose to use that particular night. And got my first home perm when I was a mere five years old. Five years old, and my hair already on the first lap of its forty plus year journey of frizz and split-ends.
So my daughters' salon, with its amazing cut and equally amazing price, was intoxicating to me last summer. I thought, sure, I can do this every six weeks. If that's what it takes to look good, I can truly do this! But guess what, after about my third appointment, life got in the way. A sister-in-law got sick, died (yep, I'm playing that card!), then Christmas came, and with it, in-laws, and before you knew it, it'd been almost 5 months since a trim, and all the little styling tricks I'd been taught by the fancy stylist weren't working. I knew I should call and make another appointment, but I felt guilty. I felt guilty, just as I've felt guilty every other time I've begun a relationship with a hair stylist, only to never call again. Sigh. I definitely have trouble with commitment when it comes to these things.
So when Beve came home yesterday with his typical perfect haircut, the same haircut he's been getting every month for the last dozen years, I thought, "Choi! I'll go to Choi." Choi is the name of the woman hairdresser who started cutting Beve's hair when we first moved here. She worked at Fantastic Sam's back then, but he's followed her from one shop to the next until she finally bought her own place a few years ago. Choi is really, really good with Beve's very coarse, wiry, hard to cut, but easy to style hair. My easy to cut, hard to style hair? Well, maybe I'd see.
This afternoon I did. I drove over there, was welcomed like a long lost daughter, like she'd known me half her life. She asked all about our girls, told me I had very nice hair color (which is about the only nice thing a person might possibly say about hair as thin and limp as mine!). She asked me where I'd gotten it cut before, and I told her the whole convoluted story about the daughters, my commitment issues, etc. She said it really is a pretty steep price, even here in our town, and that she knows the owner. Nice girl. She did a good job, too. A very good job. I like how my hair feels, how it looks. When she finished, I reached into my purse for my debit card, and she said, "I don't take credit. Do you have a checkbook?" But I didn't. I'd let Beve borrow it the other day, and he'd forgotten to give it back. And I had no cash. Then I realized I didn't even have my cell-phone so I could ask E to run me down some cash. What a pickle, as one might say. "Do you have any dishes to wash?" I was on the verge of asking.
Choi said, "Don't worry. You can just pay me the next time."
"I'll go get it," I said.
"No," she said. "Next time. This time you go home."
So I did. I just walked out of that salon without having paid for my haircut. But I'll definitely be back. She didn't do it for that reason. She just did it because it's who she is. And I love that. I love that there's still a place where it takes real money to buy something, and only money. And I love that there's a person who believes in honor and operates a business that way--even here and even now. That's what will make me go back to Choi, that's what will help me make the commitment I've never made before.
Next time, I'll have cash.