I went to get my haircut this weekend. Saturday ended up being the only day we went out. Joe developed a bad cold in the middle of last week, so we stayed in and cooked on Friday, but on Saturday he said he was up to a trip to the mall. By that afternoon his cold was back with a vengence and yesterday we stayed tucked into the house not venturing out once. It's been a quiet weekend.
But back to my haircut, because, you are dying to know. We parked at the mall and when Joe went to the washroom I wandered along looking at the stores. I saw a hair cutting place and rolled over to check if the wait was long, and if they could move a chair out so I could roll my chair in. I was greeted by a friendly smile and an assurance that there would be no problem with getting my wheelchair in right away. I waited for a moment for Joe to come back and then I told him that I was going to take the opportunity to get my hair cut.
I pulled into the space that the 'hostess' indicated and knew that I was in a 'salon' not a 'barber shop' when I was asked, "Do you prefer sissors or clippers?" in a tone that dripped pretension. I said that I didn't care what was used. "I'm feeling that sissors would be best for your style of hair," says the woman with a great sense of gravity. I'm thinking, "It's just a frigging haircut, it's not major surgery," but you don't say those things to people with sharps all around.
She was going to chat and chat she did. I never know what to say in these circumstances, I'm shy with people I don't know and I always revert to the clumbsy conversationalist I was when younger. I hit upon a question, a good one, one that I thought would sail us through to the end. "So, you worked here long?"
"No," she said and then went on to explain that for 16 years she worked in a nursing home. It was supposed to be a student placement but turned into a long term job. She got tired of it and became a 'stylist'. Then she said, "You probably noticed right off that I'm good with wheelchairs," not pausing for an answer she continued, "yeah, well that's 'cause I worked with wheelchairs for so many years. You've got to learn how to handle the wheelchairs, so they don't get upset. I got really good at that. We don't have a lot of wheelchairs come in here and some of the others are uncomfortable with them, but to me a wheelchair is just, like, a wheelchair."
She's almost finished my haircut ... sorry, let me rephrase, She's almost finished styling my hair ... and I'm wondering if I should speak up. I mean 'wheelchair' - I'm in a wheelchair, I'm not a wheelchair, that may be a minor distinction to you but it's a big one to me. I hated it a few months ago when I took a flight and there were a few of us with disabilities there and the woman at the desk wanted us to get on the plane first and over the announcement speakers said, "Could all the wheelchairs come up to get ready for boarding?" And what the hell is 'Being good with wheelchairs?' Isn't thinking that you are 'good with wheelchairs' direct proof that you are not? But ultimately, I just let it go.
I came out of the 'salon' with my hair 'styled' and Joe said, "Nice haircut" and the whole artiface fell. As we were heading to do some shopping I said, "Well at least I got a blog out of it." Joe said that he'd looked throught he window and could see that she was talking a mile a minute and knew, just knew, that that wouldn't end good. I told Joe of our conversation and he laughed.
On the way home in the car he looked at me lovingly and said, "Did wheelchair have a nice time in the mall?"