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3:35pm on Monday, 12th July, 2010:



I went to have my hair cut today.

I phoned to make an appointment first, as I usually do, but they only had one person cutting hair today and apparently that meant she couldn't do bookings. I've no idea why it meant that, but she said it with the same air of confidence as "there's a metre of snow outside my house so I can't come to work" so I wasn't going to challenge her.

Anyway, I went to the barber's speculatively and literally 2 seconds before I got there some old bloke who had been wandering bemusedly up the street ahead of me turned suddenly and went inside. I decided not to wait while he had his hair cut, as I had some errands to run. These took longer than I expected, mainly because the teller in the bank took an age to get me the euros I ordered for my holiday — she laughed nervously when I asked her if she'd gone to the Post Office to pick them up.

I finally returned to the barber's and found someone having their hair cut, but he only had about 5 minutes worth to go and he was done so I sat down and read the newspaper. Then it was my turn.

OK, so the barber I go to is Rodney's. It's not run by Rodney any more, as he's retired from hair-cutting; instead, it's run by Michelle, who worked there before and bought the business from him. It was Michelle who was cutting my hair today (I think — she has an identical twin sister who also cuts hair there sometimes). Whatever, I've had my hair cut at Rodney's for 30 years, and what happened next has never happened before. I sat in the chair, and suddenly out of nowhere Rodney himself appeared along with a bunch of student trainees. He proceeded to give a running commentary as Michelle cut my hair, talking about it in the same way that an experienced carpenter might describe to a group of apprentices the process of making a doorknob. The level of detail was great ("See how she only asks if the cut is OK on the second showing with the mirror, not the first? And how she didn't ask if it was short enough, just whether it was alright? That's because if you ask if it's short enough, some people will begin to wonder if it is short enough, and they may want you to take some more off just in case it isn't."). Still, it was a bit unnerving being treated as if I were an inert object.

Oh well, at least I still have hair to be cut.

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Copyright © 2010 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).