You Didn’t Tip Her, Did You?
After I tell this story, the guaranteed question that follows is: “You didn’t tip her, did you?”
“Yes,” I reply, ashamed of myself. “She needed the money and she was going through some rough times. Maybe she was depressed or drinking…”
I stop the justifications. Why bother? In the minds of anyone rational, this is just another example Book-Smart Lorna having absolutely no common sense. I am blessed/cursed with an uncommon sense in which rationality doesn’t just take a back seat, it’s not even in the vehicle.
Want to hear the story? Sure you do.
K was my hairdresser. She ran her small business out of her home, which had a decent-enough salon set-up attached to it. The trouble began for her when her husband, a prison guard, got arrested for something lewd that involved drugs and a minor. She left him and her salon (but not her profession) behind.
Being a woman of true grit and absurdity, K rented a double-wide trailer and created a make-shift hair salon in the middle of it. She called her former clients and enthusiastically assured us that she could provide all services as before, only in a more “homey” setting. I believed her. This is where my trouble started.
I made an appointment for a perm, something she did with great results. It was a Saturday afternoon. K welcomed me in. I never saw the inside of her previous home, but her current residence was a wreck. I know there was furniture because all kinds of junk was piled on top of various things that had either metal or wooden legs.
“Lets get that hair permed!” K wisked my coat off me and threw it on top of a pile of other clothes, probably dirty laundry. “I’ve got a party to go to tonight.”
I sat at her kitchen table covered with papers, dishes, and trays of hair styling paraphernalia. My chair was a regular chair. Homey. She rolled my hair in the 943 perm rollers, squirted the vile-smelling chemical compounds all over my head, and set a kitchen timer she found under a pile of rubble. Then she proceeded to apply fingernail polish to her nails while phoning a friend.
The timer dinged. K kept talking and blowing on her nails. My scalp began to tingle. “Um, K, the timer went off.”
“It’s okay, a few more minutes won’t hurt a thing.”
10 minutes later, “Ah, K, my head is starting to burn.”
“I’ve got a client. Sorry. I’ll have to call you back.” Then she turned to me. “Okay, time to rinse.”
The kitchen sink, in which the rinse was supposed to happen, was filled with dirty dishes. K said, “Would you mind clearing the sink? I don’t think my nails are completely dry.” By this time the chemicals were seeping into my brain. I washed her damned dishes and rinsed my own head just to save myself.
K applied another chemical to my rollered-head–a relaxer. I was supposed to sit under a dome-dryer for the relaxer to work on my hair. Her dome-dryer didn’t work and she couldn’t find a blow dryer. Lucky for me, her double-wide trailer had a forced-hot-air heating system. Unlucky for me the heating vents were on the floor–the dirty floor, on which I had to lie down with my head as close to the vent as possible (but only when the furnace kicked on).
Drying curled up hair using a heating vent takes a while; so K had time to apply another coat of nail polish. This meant that she had gorgeous nails and I did the 2nd rinse and extracted the 943 rollers. She managed to cut my hair, but I passed on having her style it.
I had time to think while lying in the floor waiting for my hair to dry. Would K charge me for this fiasco? What am I doing here?
She charged me full price for the perm. And your question would be,”You didn’t tip her, did you?”
At least I never went back.