Moan Me This

Tomorrow evening we drive through three or four separate nations to arrive at a beach on the north Adriatic. The drive is about the same distance as Gympie to Tamworth, so it's no monster and we have two drivers plus two back-seat drivers. This is what one must do here in order to get to an actual beach. Okay, there's no surf in the Adriatic but one thing at a time.
But today, today I drove to Filderstadt to get my hair cut by a bent-over Italian woman who was tired of living. She wasn't 70 or 60 or 50 or even 40. I'd guess she was 33 or 34. She slaughtered the guy in front of me with her slovenly, inexact swoops of the electric clippers, each swoop accompanied by a moan or a sigh and sometimes even a roll of her heavy eyes.
They made this sound, the eyes: "wwwhhhhhhrrrrrrrrrrrrr cacluck!.... like a pair of 1950s bowling balls.
The dude was thin, like a cardboard cut-out. He sat obediently affixed in his slot on the chair while the sardonic bitch wove her magic Ronson. She had not suffered a stroke, this much one could see, but she moved as if she were having one at every moment. Not only that but simultaneously she moved as if she were the sad and embattled teller of her own sad tale of misfortune and was also the audience soaking in every word, every groan, yawns and all, and was also the jaded judging panel allotting points for content, delivery, originality and theme.
She was, therefore, the complete package. I wondered how someone this bent over from life at 33 would describe herself on a dating website. 
I could have gotten up out of my chair and simply left. But I was torn between the idea of getting a good haircut from someone who at least gave one the illusion of care, and staying to find out where this brief entanglement might lead. Songs and stories, after all, are gifts from the unknown.
The cardboard dude left all-but in tears. His face was red. I looked at it. His eyes told me "leave while you can." I smiled, waved, and eased back into the chair. 
The witch did not attend to me next. She slipped outside for a cigarette, then came back in and swept up the cuttings from cardboard man. I waited, I understood her needs. 
It was all about power. Control. Winning every minute of life by whining on about it, complaining til somebody says, or everybody says "so sorry..." 
She wanted me to be annoyed, impatient for her to get to me. I couldn't have cared less. Take all day, i thought. I'm on summer break.
Finally she approached me from behind and said: "Hair wash is over there"
"No wash," I said. "Just a cut."
She moaned and said "I don't speak English. Only Italian or German."
I said: "You navigated your way through that entire sentence pretty well for a non-english speaker."
In German I repeated: No wash, Just a cut. 
I showed her how much I wanted off. 
She groaned and rolled her eyes: wwwhhhhhhrrrrrrrrrrrrr cacluck!.
"Number 12?" she spat.
I nodded. "But only if you really want to cut my hair..."
She turned red. "Of course! I am here aren't I? I'm not at home, of course I want to cut your hair."
"One would assume so," I said. "But you don't give the impression of being interested in being here at all." 
She threw her hands in the air and said something in Italian. 
I thought: This is my final chance to leave. 
But I let it go on. My curiosity had the upperhand. I already knew we were gonna have a disagreement about the price of the cut at the end. And I knew she was gonna moan and groan and whine and slouch her way through the entire ordeal. I kept wishing she would at least stand up straight.
So she took to me with the 12s. Except it wasn't the 12s. This, I decided to let go because it was part of her plan: to do it completely wrong, to do it badly, like she had with cardboard man and he had not even had the decency to confront her about it. This made her twice as determined to bring me to the boiling point. 
Once she'd done the sides she attacked the top and left whole stands of hair shooting up like clusters of bamboo in a golf course.
I smiled at her. This made her groan even louder. 
Then she took her scissors and comb to the first battleground - the sides. She'd already done them with the not-quite-12s. Now she was hacking into it with a sense of focus that would make Edward Scissor-Hands blush.
Finally she was about 1/3rd done and began blowing the hair out of my face and off my shoulders. She held the mirror up so I could see how she'd butchered my best side. 
She almost cackled as she asked "And?? How does it look?"
She expected me to explain that it just wasn't right yet. But I didn't.
"Cool," I lied. Then I began to stand up. 
She grabbed her blow dryer and started blowing loose hair down the back of my T-shirt cos she'd already removed the apron. 
"Perfect," I said, as my back and shoulders began to itch.
"Do you want some gel?" she spat, suddenly urgent cos she sensed losing a couple bucks.
"No," I said. "I just want to get out of here." 
"No products? No sprays?" she complained.
"None whatsoever," I said. "Let me pay so I can leave and never come back." 
"That's 24 euros," she said with a whine. 
"It's 23," I said. 
"No no no," she insisted. "It is always 24 euros."
"It's 23 Euros," I said. 
She moaned and groaned simultaneously and sort of coughed and said something witchcraft-like under her breath. "Look! There on the big posters on the window it says 24 euro. You see! It is always 24 Euro!"
"That's for a wash and a cut," I said. 
"It is 24 euros always, whether you have a wash or not," she lied. 
"Then moan me this," I said. "Why, on your huge poster, is there that item on the bottom that says "Cut only: 23 euros".
"Oh oh oh oh ...." she moaned, for the first time justifiably. "That poster is old."
"It's the one you just pointed at to justify overcharging me," I said. 
23 Euros it was then. 
For such a meeting of minds however, I would've happily paid double. Gel or no gel.


Popular posts from this blog

The Light And The Dark Of It

Going Caboose

More Excerpts from :"Life Tips For The Young"