For Chip: He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion. —Unknown

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Salon II

I entered the hair salon around 3:30 p.m. and was anxious to leave quickly. Eric was sitting in a chair staring at his phone with his assistant in the room. It was excellent timing because I was the only client. We could breeze through the process without interruptions. Eric says that it will be a few minutes before we get started. I sit and wait as he keeps making calls and lists a dozen or so people that are on his DNR (do not reply) list. Most of the clients he was passing over to his assistant. He was making fun of most of the requests that he was collecting online. He would name each online request and talk in a silly voice as he stated their needs from broken hair to severe hair color.

Eric finally tells me to go to the chair, and he will be there in few seconds. He begins to mix the hair color. It appears he is going to get started, but he walks across the room. He needs to order some products before tomorrow. He starts talking on the phone and inquires as to the cost and ETA of the products. It is almost 4:00 p.m., and he had been on the phone for about 15 minutes. He finally walks over and starts to work on my hair but then the phone rings again and his assistant hands him the phone. Good chance he has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He begins a task but will walk away and do something else. When he finally starts to put the product on my hair a new client enters the salon. This is going to be another distraction.Eric handles the next client with kid gloves. He had done her hair months ago but then she switched to another hair dresser and had returned to him to do a color correction. She is a beautiful woman as she lets her hair down.  Her hair is a mess with black roots and various shades of blonde. The client is uncertain about what color she wants. They finally agree on a color, and he begins the color process. The client tells Eric that she is pregnant after he starts applying the color. Hair color processes take about 30 minutes. I sit for over an hour with color.  He has agreed to give me the Brazilian Blowout after the color is complete. 

The assistant washes my hair and then he comes over and puts the Brazilian on the bottom layer of my hair. He puts on a heavy duty mask because he is leary of the ingredients in the Brazilian product. The bottle says no formaldehyde but we both know that tests have proved otherwise. Whatever is in it has a distinct odor with fumes. I ask if the hair should be dried, but he says it does not matter. He goes back to the pregnant client. She is afraid when she sees him wearing a mask. He finally puts the rest of the mixture on my hair and lets me sit. I know from experience that the next step is using a flat iron that will activate the product. Eric says he needs to finish the other client because she is pregnant. She had already left the room once and said she needed air.  I wait while he washes and dries the clients hair. During the drying process, the client does not like her color, and Eric volunteers to take her back to the bowl and add some highlights. He proceeds with more color, and I wait with the Brazilian blowout product on my hair. I do not want to complain, but the Brazilian fumes were burning my eyes and I searched for a Kleenex for my teary eyes.

The former assistant had called earlier and said she had broken up with her boyfriend. Eric told her to come over for coffee.  Eric is around 35 and Michelle is about 20. There is a lot of sexual tension between the two of them. Michelle recently got size "C" breast augmentation and Eric was giving all the details at the time of her surgery. She proudly raised her shirt to show me the improvement. Now he is telling her to leave her boyfriend in an authoritative voice. I do not trust his motive.

Several times Eric's girlfriend calls and asks when he is coming home. He keeps being extremely evasive with her and even mentions that he is doing the Brazilian on me. She calls back and threatens to come to the salon. He hands the phone to his former assistant Michelle.when he sees that his girlfriend is calling. I am sure the girlfriend must be irritated that the twenty something assistant is answering Eric's cell phone instead of Eric.  Eric has trouble concentrating on hair because he wants to know all about Michelle and details of the breakup. I doubt he is just a consultant and friend.

Eric finally comes to my chair. Out of the blue he makes a comment about spending $3000 that day.  I foolishly ask what he is talking about, and he walks away abruptly. He returns with a ring box and opens the box. Inside the box is a beautiful engagement ring. He says his client was wearing the ring, but the relationship did not work. Apparently he bought the ring from the client for $3,000 instead of the original $10,000. I tell him that it will be a tremendous mistake to tell the girlfriend how he acquired the ring. The other client agrees and says if he gives the rejected ring to his girlfriend it will amount to grave "juju". We all laugh because we are sure of the result. He says he never intends to marry the girlfriend who he has a child with, but the ring will make her happy. He says, "Who cares where the ring comes from".  He is thinking like a practical male; not a romantic female. 

My first boyfriend presented me an engagement ring after spending time in the military. It would not have been my first choice.  Finally, I asked where he got it. He had purchased it from someone that had a breakup. I never liked the ring, and we eventually broke up. Most women would like to think the ring was exceptional and not a discount deal.  

An old man walks into the salon, and wants to sharpen all the hairdresser tools. He tells Eric that if he does not use him that Eric will eventually call him back. He says other people that sharpen scissors rarely have success. 

Eric's cell phone keeps ringing and every time it rings the assistant hands the phone to Eric. He takes every call regardless of what he is doing.Eric stops drying the client's hair, so he can talk about his weekly grocery bill. He declares that no more than $150 should be spent a week on groceries at Walmart.  Meanwhile, Michelle goes from crying to laughing. The new assistant announces that she had a baby at 16 and recently dumped the baby's father after 4 1/2 years. How much drama could be involved in a tiny salon? Michelle quickly recovers as she discusses a potential new boyfriend that owns a private jet. I think of someone like a single Jerry Jones and wonder how this young girl ran into someone that wealthy. She does not know where she will stay for the night since the break up with her boyfriend. Eric volunteers his couch although I doubt this will fly with Eric's girlfriend. He says that they have trouble getting along but that sex is fantastic. I hope that he does not give any more details. I do not think anyone in the room wants to hear more stories.

Is there no end to this madness? How many diversions can occur? This has to be one of the most ill managed salons. He does admirable work, but it takes him hours to accomplish a task. He finally wanted to know when I got there. I told him 3:30, and now it was 8 pm. He said, "That's pretty lousy".

There is a category on my yearly evaluation at work concerning accountability and time management. Eric would fail in these evaluated areas. Did he ever think about people using their work time to come get their hair done? He seems to be extremely immature with his clients. He only worries about how things effect him. 

Eric asks what I am going to do for dinner. I planned on going to the restaurant next door to the salon.  He says, "Don't bother going there it closed last week." I laugh out loud as I anxiously walk out the door.