This one begins when I paid a visit to the hair salon. No, I wasn’t just visiting them without any purpose, I actually got my hair cut. Most people love showers because of the freedom it affords them. They can sing, dance, think or just battle crippling anxiety and depression while standing under that constant stream of water, a metaphor for the slow and constant passing of time, leading us all to our eventual deaths and the Universe’s stark indifference to our existence and death. Anyway, people love showers mostly because of the isolation it provides them to sing, or think deeply about things they wouldn’t really think about at other times. It’s easy to see why there’s a whole community built around this.
Unlike most people, I prefer to do all this while I’m at the salon. Not the singing and dancing, mind you. The thinking. There’s no situation more conducive for thinking, as sitting in an air-conditioned room with music blasting in the background and a sharp instrument really close to your ears, clipping away at the hair you’ve spent months nurturing and growing. You can’t help but wonder if the barber is a latent sex offender, as he offers you a free face masssage after the haircut. But, experience has taught me over time that this isn’t the case. I digress. Also, haircuts are one of the few situations where I can get the job done, without much talking. That earns it bonus points in my book.
As my thoughts wandered in the salon, I couldn’t help but notice this snippet of wisdom. John Travolta was right in Pulp Fiction. It’s the little things that make two places different. Not the entire tradition and customs or ethnic make up, just the little things. (Note this down, kids, that’s how you generalise things.) It’s the same with barbers. It’s the attention to details that sets apart a good salon from a great one.
One particular salon I frequented, before I returned to my hometown after finishing college, prided itself on its attention to detail. The barber’s cape they would drape over me had the name of the salon embroidered over it. That’s pretty normal, I know, but the design in itself was such that when I looked into the mirror in front of me, there it was, the name of the salon, exactly how it should be, which is to say it wasn’t mirrored. I gazed down and saw that the embroidery was inverted, so that when patrons looked into the mirror, the name appeared un-inverted. And then, the barber got pissed off because I moved my head as he was working on it.
Unfortunately, at the salon I went to earlier this week, that wasn’t the case. It was a plain cape, with no thought put into how the embroidery might look like to a customer in the mirror. There it was, a plain guy, wearing a plain cape, staring at me from the mirror, and the words were all flipped. I guess this doesn’t matter all that much in the end. Maybe nobody else puts so much thought into these things as I do. Maybe they do, but they don’t launch into wordy, winding rants about it online. Nevertheless, this train of useless thoughts had to come to an end when the barber was done with his job. Fast forward a couple of minutes, to skip over an awkward social interaction I had with the barber regarding the pay, and I’m in my shower, thinking about how I never have thoughts in the shower, but during haircuts. So meta.