Because my brain operates in a general state of chaos most of the time, my To Do Lists serve as a thin-but-critical lifeline of sanity. The Lists keep me from straying off into the wilderness, where I would inevitably become lost and live in the trees and have to eat beetles. I am fairly worthless in a grocery store without The List — Instead I’ll skip up and down the aisles, excited about some new chicken marinade recipe I just thought of, only to come home to be greeted by a hungry dog. Then I have to go back out to get his dog food. And he sits there and judges me.
When I don’t get around to doing something, it gets repeated at the top of the next day’s list. That’s the little penalty — I have to rewrite the undone thing on the next list. It’s not quite the same level of self-flagellation like the creepy albino guy from the Da Vinci code, whacking his back with some sort of torture device at the end of a rope. But it’s still a penalty to pay.
Recently, I found myself doing the list-rewriting thing with my haircut. For weeks. I simply could not make it to the place. At first it was general sense of procrastination, but then I ran into an odd series of obstacles that wouldn’t let me get my haircut.
Eventually, my hairdo started doing some weird stuff. If it was music, this would have been free-form jazz. Lots of noise, no melody. For some reason, my hair doesn’t all grow at the same length. I grow hair seven times as fast at the temples, which can get out of control pretty quick.
One Saturday morning, I rushed over to the haircut place right when they opened, hoping to be the first one in line so I could make it to some birthday event on time afterwards with kiddo. No luck — the manager was late to open the place, everybody was standing around out front. And I couldn’t talk the haircutters into giving me a trim right there on the sidewalk, and they were a little standoffish when I offered to pick the lock to the store’s front door.
Another day, I ventured out to the haircut place by my work but they were “out of stylists.” But they said I could come back at 3pm and they “might” be staffed then. How does a place run out of stylists? In some crazy scheme to turn a profit, you’d think they’d keep the place staffed with scissors and people who know how to use them during the day.
So I tried to leave work early one day, and right as my car hit the on-ramp to the highway, I got called to do a U-turn back into work for an emergency. At this point I started looking around to see if I was on Candid Camera or something.
This went on literally for weeks. Everytime I’d try to go get the haircut, something crazy would pop up. Like I’d get held up by a stopped train when I had a short window of time to get the haircut. Or I’d finally make it there during daylight hours, but oops, forgot my wallet. Fate obviously did not want me to have shorter hair.
Finally, the planets aligned in my favor and I was able to make it to the place by my house. And not only were they open, and I had my wallet, and I had time to get the haircut without being somewhere else in a hurry… my favorite haircutter Betty was also available. Score.
I peeked outside to see if the place was about to get robbed, or perhaps a pack of wolves would figure out how to open the door and try to come interrupt us. No, this haircut was definitely going to happen.
But as I waited for Betty, there was a weird vibe in the air. The stylists were awestruck as the guy right before me gave Betty a $100 tip. Holy crap — that’s like a 700% tip. I was sure she’d suddenly decide to be done for the day and I’d fall back into Haircut Purgatory. It was the biggest tip she’d ever received, by double, and she was glowing with the feeling of appreciation for her special craft.
Despite being wildly distracted, chatting to the other girls about the big tip, Betty went ahead and gave me a terrific haircut as always. In fact, she was in a zone today — it made my top 5 best haircuts ever.
It was such a relief to have this thing done — not just because my hair continued to grow longer each day, but because of all the obstacles. Through a combination of the sheer happiness of getting my haircut finally accomplished, and the funds I accumulated while missing whole haircut intervals, and a general sense of competitiveness… I knew what I had to do. I threw down a tip that beat his by one dollar and strutted out of there like a boss.
Get a haircut