I guess I should start this post with an apology to Louisiana, because I'm going to complain about how hot it is here, and it's hot everywhere, Louisiana just happens to be one of the hottest places in the world. For instance, it's hot enough to fry an egg on my sidewalk at the moment. Nevertheless, Louisiana deserves praise for remaining a lady after all she’s been through, particularly the city of New Orleans.
However, Louisiana summers are just too hot for anything but alligators and water moccasins. I think we ought to leave it to the critters in the summertime, where the "Livin’ may be Easy," but the fish are jumpin' because the waters boiling hot. One of the reasons life is so slow in the South, is the fact that it’s too steamy to move. Moreover, when you mix a passionate people with a sweltering environment, tempers flare, and out come the muddy water attitudes, which you'll see in this post.
The day started out like any other in August, which meant I was dripping with sweat when I went to get my haircut last week. I felt like my face was melting sideways, much like a candle burning down to the wick...I could feel mascara streaming down my face. I’m certain I looked like a combination between Elvira and a member of the seventies rock group, Kiss.
(I tried to save money by washing my hair before I left, but it was pointless.)
It really doesn't matter though, because I think the beautician would have washed my hair anyway. Because, I’m not sure if it’s me or them, but hairdressers do not appear to be listening these days, and I know they hear me. There is a difference, I think, between hearing and listening, however, I’ve never heard of anyone who could do both at the same time.
In other words, they cannot possibly listen to me, and have a conversation with their co-workers. That would be humanly impossible, and if they can talk to two people at once, they might as well retire from cosmetology all together, because they would be the first to do so.
But, I guess the truth is they could care less, hence, as a result, I've spent most of this year searching for a decent hairdresser.
And I thought I found one- I was so excited about my appointment, I sang while sitting in traffic on the way to the salon, then pulled into the parking lot and parked. However, when I looked in the rear-view mirror, and saw my face, I was horrified. I looked like a raccoon with a wet mop on its head- My eyes had black rings around them, and my hair was as limp as a wet rag.
I wanted to make a nice first impression, so I sat in my son’s car for five or ten minutes wiping off my make-up, before I finally gave up and went inside. (Do not ask where my car is.)
Then, upon entering the salon, my new hairdresser took it upon herself, to spout the first of many insults...
"Hello, did you come for a haircut?"
(No, I thought to myself, I came to admire myself in your mirrors.)
Then she cocked her head slightly to the right, and said with a mannequin-like smile,
"Oh, my goodness, my dear you are soaking wet. Is it raining outside?"
All right, I thought, this is not going well...How can someone live in South Louisiana in August, and ask me a question like that? Particularly, when her salon has two gigantic windows in front?
I just smiled, and prayed that her hearing was better than her eyesight, then responded in a traditional lady-like way,
"No, it’s obviously not raining outside, and with all due respect, if you haven't noticed, I’m sweating. It’s about a hundred degrees out there. Have you been outside today?" (On the other hand, maybe she slept in the salon.)
Ignoring my comment, she replied, "So, I guess you will need a shampoo?"
I wanted to say no, I had just washed what little hair I have, but of course, I didn’t, instead, I said,
"Yes, I suppose I do, thank you." (What in the world, was I thanking HER for?)
After which, I obediently followed my new hairdresser to the back of her salon, where I would lay my head backwards over a sink, and stare into her mean eyes as she washed my hair.
It must have been obvious by my body language that I felt vulnerable, because she flashed her fake smile at me again, before gently pushing my head against the back of the sink.
As she smacked her gum and hummed, I watched her face from a different angle, and I know it sounds weird, but she looked like a different person- I’ve lived long enough to know that her attitude toward me had little to do with me personally, so why was I so defensive and frightened?
She was just a silly hairdresser with nothing better to do, but lay her troubles on someones shoulder, and I knew if I tried harder, we might become friends, but it was too hot.
What I mean is my face started sweating profusely from the heat in the shampoo room, in addition to the hot water she was pouring over my face. Why was she pouring water over my face? She was supposed to be washing my hair, not my face. Then, I suddenly wanted to kill her again, but I reined myself in, and thought she must have a ton of stuff going on at home.
Hence, instead, I talked to myself silently, "That’s alright Annie, you’ll get her back in the fall. Before entering her salon again, you will wash, comb, and blow dry your hair, go for a pedicure, and waltz in there wearing a white linen suit."
Whereupon, you will politely declare, "I cleaned up for you. You were so nice the last time I was here, that I wished to spare you the hassle of having too much to do at one time."
If that sounds passive aggressive, it’s because it is...Most southern woman are passive aggressive when the gloves come off, and hers were off the minute I stepped through her glass door.
I cannot stand mean people, and I really cannot stand confrontation, but she was backing me in a corner.
But, at least I learned from an early age how to sprinkle my words with enough sugar to cover a plate of beignets. (Louisiana's State donut)
However, I still wanted to avoid any kind of conflict, so before losing my cool, I reminded myself that her attitude had nothing to do with me, so I continued talking to her in my head one way, while I laced the words I spoke with sugarcane.
And it worked. Suddenly, her rock hard expressionless face changed from pensive and unforgiving to warm and regretful, and when I sat in her barber chair to get my haircut, she said,
"I’m sorry, Ms. Clemmons, I’m having a really bad day, and I believe I’ve taken it out on you."
"Really, it’s alright, I said, we all have bad days."
Although, I wondered if she was really thinking about tip time, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt anyway, because, after all life is not easy anywhere, and it’s particularly hard in a hundred degree weather.
Consequently, I suppose I was right, people are living in their own heads most of the time, thinking about their own troubles and doing the best they can with what they have.
Moreover, from that day on, I will have be happy with a bad haircut, that is until it grows out, and hope we do not have another hurricane this year.
In addition, I was happy with myself for changing my way of thinking as I walked to the car. I thought about my good fortune, for one thing I was born in Louisiana in the days of air conditioning, and deodorant.
In closing, I tipped the mean/nice hairdresser, who was not sweating like the rest of us that day...and I cannot help but wonder why...
I cannot shake the feeling a splash of water would have melted her into a water puddle. (Because mean witches melt, whether they're from the east, south, or west.)
In any event, I still believe there's nothing like Southern hospitality, you just have to avoid the hot sauce in the summertime.
Motherhood is an art impossible to explain, one which requires a vast sea of love, devotion, compassion, and understanding, unmatched by any affection we will ever know again.- Ann Clemmons
Words are the core of our souls, without written, vocal or lyrical expression we lose sight of one another or worse, ourselves. Words bring forth the essence of the human spirit; so express yourself without abandon.
Beatrix Potter’s Journal, 17 November 1896, from the National Trust collection.
Alone in her world
of make believe
weaving her stories
of magic and light
She brings joy
to the eyes
of innocent minds
less jaded and free
For only they know
what's in her heart
holding the secrets
she guards so well
Life's hidden mysteries
belong to those
whose wisdom and truth
shine on in imagination
Written for Ann
Of The Horoscope Junkie
Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”'
F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Lines from The Great Gatsby)
"A Southerner Talks Music"
"A book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside us."
An author values a compliment even when it comes from a source of doubtful competency.
- Mark Twain in Eruption
"I like a good story well told. That is the reason I am sometimes forced to tell them myself"