It doesn’t matter what you do, whether it’s for a living or otherwise; it doesn’t matter how long you’ve done it; it doesn’t even matter how well you can do it now. There was a time when you did it–whatever it is–for the first time. That time when you took a deep breath, put on the brave face, and committed to actually getting in there and making it happen. Ready or not, here I come, and all that.
If you’re a parent, you brought home your first child, nervously wondering how you could possibly nurture and raise another human being after struggling for five minutes with something as simple as a car seat.
If you’re a teacher, you stood there mildly quaking in your low wedges (sensible flats for me) as your first class walked toward you in the hallway. “Wait a minute, I’m here by myself?”
If you’re a retail clerk, you had your first customer. A police officer, you had your first traffic stop. A firefighter, your first structure fire. A barista, your first latte. A ten-year-old kid dragging a lawn mower, your first paying yard. The list goes on. Pick a profession…each has its firsts.
So, about my haircut the other day.
It wouldn’t be right to say that I have a hairstyle, per se. My hair is too thin (though not that thin) and I’m too old to grow it longer, I’ve got a few well placed cowlicks that require it to be sorta-parted on the right side, and, honestly, I don’t have the energy or inclination to maintain it with anything other than a brush in the morning and my fingers run through it during the day. At my age I’m thankful for what I’ve got–my dad says you can comb grey–but every month or so I don’t go to get it styled…I just need a haircut.
I frequent a local chain that features sports TV and a guy-ish atmosphere. There usually aren’t too many kids, and it’s far enough away from my school that it doesn’t matter if there were.
I learned a long time ago that it’s best for me to let the barber, er, stylist just cut my hair. If I try to tell her what to do, invariably she’ll do exactly what I ask and people will look at me funny for the next few weeks until it grows back out. It does grow back out, you know. While I’m a control freak in many other areas of my life, when I sit down in the chair I just ask for a haircut. It works for me.
The other day my name was called and I shook hands (nice touch, I suppose) with a stylist I’d never met before. She looked younger than most, but nothing seemed amiss as I made my way back to her chair. I still had my glasses on as she put the cape around me and asked how I wanted my hair cut. My glasses are relevant, because without them I wouldn’t have seen her expression as I asked her to simply give me a haircut.
Note to self: When a stylist’s eyes go wide with your request, that’s not necessarily a good sign.
I elaborated, giving my quick spiel about her knowing her business better than I do, and she seemed to understand what I wanted. I’m not trying to ruin the story, reader, when I say that my hair looked pretty good when I walked out the door. It did, well, for the most part. No one has looked at my hair any funnier than they usually do.
There were a few moments, though, after I realized she was just that new at this that I was worried: She dropped the comb twice (“Your hair is so thick that I can’t get a comb through it!” Ohhhh kay), she stood there looking at my head for a few really long seconds a couple of times, and the entire process took two innings of baseball–nearly an eternity in stylist years. Oh, and she brought over the stylist from the next chair to actually finish the cut. In retrospect, I guess that was a positive. Bless her heart, though, she did okay for a newby. We’ve all been there, and it’s not easy.
Besides, when it’s all said and done, it does grow back out, you know.