I had a haircut yesterday. Really, Craig? Do tell us more! Yes, I had a haircut. Like most boys who were forcibly dragged to a barbershop as a child, I’ve poured that fear and panic into a nice neat capsule of stress, swallowed it, and it lives inside me to this day. I over-exaggerate a touch, but I’m not a fan. I tend to keep my haircuts down to two a year. Three at most. So by the end of the hair cycle, it’s a big old shaggy mess. And the cycle is always the same: looking okay, looking okay, looks okay now and again, wearing a cap out of necessity rather than choice, and then a couple of weeks after I’ve decided that I simply must get it cut, there’ll be one day. One beautiful, magical day. One day where the hair, for some unknown reason, looks great. And on that day, I contemplate keeping it. But I’ve come to know that that one day is the Hypnic jerk of the hair knowing it’s about to sleep.
I’m impatient by nature, but when it comes to getting a haircut, I really hate waiting. Mostly because of the mirrors. I really don’t enjoy being surrounded by so many mirrors. Who’s that cunt? Oh, yes, Craig, you look like that. And you sit and wait and eventually someone comes and asks how your vanity would like to be pleased. And I’m embarrassed by any form of vanity in myself. At the end of a haircut, when the cutter asks if I want any product to put in my hair, I shake my head: that’d be too vain to stand in an open space with others around, trying to make myself look good. Of course, the alternative is looking like an idiot who has just had a haircut. But rather an idiot that someone who is vain.
I got my dictionary out before I left. Checked the Spanish words for short and long. Corto and largo. I had a couple of places in mind, places I’d walked by in the past. Because of the impatience, though, I ended up going somewhere else, somewhere closer. Simply because I saw through the window there was nobody in there. I muttered some blah blah in Spanish, used my corto and largo whilst pointing at parts of my head, and was told to follow a lady into a downstairs bit where she washed my hair. It’s not often someone washes my hair, and it should be enjoyable, but it rarely is, because I’m usually feeling uncomfortable in that unnatural position in the chair. And just as I am starting to enjoy it, that’s when she wraps my hair up in the towel turban and beckons me to follow her to get my locks chopped off.
She asked if I wanted the back rounded. She asked and did a smile shape with an index finger. I held up my hands to indicate, a bit more squarerer, please, luv. As she chopped away, she sang along, quite loudly, to the pop music that was echoing around the fairly large room. Mirrors everywhere. Even with my glasses off, I could see the two dudes at the counter were watching me. Stop it! stop looking! My armpits were getting warm. I felt uncomfortable. And all the time, the woman was singing along to the insipid music. It sounded like music made by someone who liked the Pet Shop Boys, but had only 1% of the talent, with some warbling woman singing on top.
Feeling uncomfortable. Being looked at. Semi-blind because of lack of glasses. Wet armpits. Thankfully I distracted myself when I noticed my terrible posture. I tried to scooch up the seat a bit to straighten my back, between the hairdresser’s snips. As I was doing that came the thought to end all stupid thoughts whilst having a haircut:
What if there’s an earthquake?
Yes, Craig, what if? This does tap into a little fear I have anyway living here. But mostly I get over that fear by thinking of the huge amount of people that live here, and the huge amount of people all over the world that live in places where earthquakes happen or might happen. The apartment I live in rumbles a wee bit when a big lorry passes on the street below. The makes my desk and bed shake a bit. And it’s a very similar feeling to that of the earthquake that I [dramatic tone, please] lived through in Toronto last June. So every time a lorry goes by, I’m never quite sure if it’s a lorry or a quake. I feel the rumble, then listen to see if I can hear a big truck on the street.
But I got to thinking about the 1985 Mexico City earthquake as I was sat there with half of a haircut. It’s entirely understandable and entirely the correct thing that news reports of earthquakes focus on the lives lost, injuries, collapsed buildings and such. But what of the people who were midway through a haircut? Chaos all around, covered in dust, with a thin black apron tucked into your collar. Hair clips making half of your head look big and stupid, while the other half is kinda looking nice. You’d have to wander around the broken streets with stray hair clippings all over your face and ears. The inconvenience of earthquakes is entirely overlooked. What if you’ve had a big night out, eaten a load of tacos, and you’re on the lav. Boom! Earthquake. You may be alive, but you’ve got underpants smeared full of taco shits. And like the haircut: people who were shaving. The 1985 earthquake hit at 7.19 a.m. so there were bound to have been people who were shaving as it happened. Shaving. Shitting. Showering. Earthquakes are inconsiderate buggers.
My haircut was coming to an end. Snip snip snip with little scissors around the ears. Hairdryer. Brushy hairs from neck. She holds a mirror behind my head. I put my spectacles on, and there in front in the mirror is my face with the hair of Christopher Moltisanti. The length and everything is fine, but she’d brushed it back. I guess that is how a lot of Mexican fellows wear their hair, but it was tough for me to not laugh. I think she saw my reaction, though, cos she raised her eyebrows at me in the mirror like, is it okay? Being a pussy, I said si. I paid, tipped, and left. About ten metres from the place was a side street. I darted down there, put my cap on, and hurried home. How’s that for paranoia? I didn’t put my cap on straight away just in case some random people who I’ll never see again would be offended that they’d not done a good haircutting job. My brain is a dick. Back at my apartment, shower, comb, bit of wax. Bueno. She did a good job.