I have an enormous pimple on my neck that looks like a red button that when undone opens a secret passage to my windpipe. I also went to get a haircut today. I replied to a free haircut ad in craigslist so that I didn’t have to spend the money I didn’t have.
Out of the subway, I found myself forced to walk through a sudden and long-lasting downpour. My eyebrows pursed to keep out the rain, and suddenly I looked like the saddest person in New York City. As the only one on the street without a hat or umbrella, I had long rivers of water running down my face where my hair that was too long connected with my face. This just happened to be exactly where tears would also run if I were to be crying my way through the streets of Manhattan. The crunched face and confused look of being lost, only served to make me look more depressed.
I finally found the hairdresser with my hair looking like a drowned spider sitting atop my head. The house music, stylish hairstyles and lime green tables told me I was in the wrong place, but the address told me I was in the right place. My hair stylist took me to a back room so that I could get dried off and change into a haircutting gown. I sat waiting, staring at myself in the mirror not realizing that I was supposed to find my stylist once I was done drying my hair. Why a changing room was necessary, I still don’t know.
As I looked around me, I realized I was the only person there not from Williamsburg or Upper West Side. I was also the only one whose clothes weren’t worth at least a weeks worth of salary. I was also the only one whose clothes were wrinkled and dirty because I had forgotten to do laundry the day before. I was also the only one who had an enormous pimple extruding from my neck.
I had spent that morning squeezing my pimple and wiping out the juices it left behind with a tissue paper. It had only served to make the area around redder and more noticeable. I chose the other route and pretended I didn’t exist, and neither did my pimple as I sat patiently watching a student grimace as he chopped my hair. My mind turned to the future. In the future I would have to know whether or not to tip this man who was giving me a free haircut. I desperately searched for people finishing up their hair services to see if they were exchanging money. I found two souls just conversing after their curly adventure into head enlarging. They seemed ready to go and I stared at the customer’s hands as they moved around in her pockets. I’m sure she thought I was just creepily surveying her crotch. Finally the customer was ready to depart and the the two hugged and then she left. Hugged? They must be friends. Friends don’t need to tip, they’re on a totally different level than me. Or she’s not a friend, and you’re supposed to hug after a haircut here. I’m fine with that, but if that’s not the policy and I go in for a hug instead of a tip things could get awkward.
I turned my attention back to the present and began playing with my hands underneath my full body bib. I silently laughed at what others might perceive as me playing with myself while a tattooed man plays with my hair. My laughs turned audible when I scratched my knee and I had to stop.
As I left, I assumed everyone was staring at me, waiting for my next screw up to come. Was it going to be a fashion faux-pa or an uncomfortable social exit, or was it simply going to be my gross pimple oozing as I left the building. As much as I like attention, pimple-attention is no fun.