Thursday, March 15, 2007

the barber of seville

I've blogged before about the awkwardness of barbershop conversations. This time, sat waiting for my turn, I realised there'd be no escaping - there were three hairdressers, two women, broad and warm brummies, and a young Irish boy with a straightened mullet. They were putting on a real performance for their customers. I subtly eyed them, hoping I got the boy, who seemed a little quieter, and not the louder of the two woman who it seemed to me was talking so much - each word requiring the appopriate gesticulation - that she hardly ever seemed to be cutting hair, and the louder she got the more likely I considered it that she would put the client's eye out. She finished first and called me over.

"Just a trim, please", I said, sitting down. "Shorter at the back and tidy up the sides. You can pretty much leave the top as it is".
"So what do you", she said, ignoring me, "think about, y'know, supernatural stuff - do you believe in it?"
She didn't wait for me to answer.
"Kathy" - she pointed at her colleague, "says that if you leave your front gate open you're actually inviting evil spirits in!".

I started to reply, but she continued. "Kathy, is it your front gate or your back gate? Only I haven't got a front gate!"
"It's the front gate, I think", Kathy called over, "but I think either works".

"Leave both open and maybe the evil spirits will just pass straight through", I suggested.
"So. What do you want?", she asked. "Just a trim?".

"I'm a bit psychic, though", she explained, once she'd started a little casual cutting.
"Hmm-mm", I half-replied.
"There are some things I just know. I dreamed that Ellie - she works at the other shop - was really fat. And then a week later she told me she was pregnant. You do get some weird co-incidences, don't you? How else would you explain them?"
"Well, we think about other people all the time, don't we", I replied. "It would be a bit strange if there were never any coincidences at all. Sooner or later you'll happen to be thinking about someone who will happen to call you a moment letter. But that's bound to happen occasionally. It doesn't have to be paranormal".

She pointed the sharpened point of the scissors at me, threateningly. "My little brother is 14, right, and I found out that he's been messing around with a ouija board! I told him, you're mad, don't you ever do that again! You're messing with forces way beyond your control".
"When I used to play with a ouija board with my friends", I told her, "we all denied moving the coin around ourselves. Much later I asked a couple of my friends whether either of them had actually moved it. Oh yes, they both said. I'd moved it too. We still allowed ourselves to get scared though".

"A gypsy woman came in here a while ago. And I could tell that she couldn't read me. But then my mum told me that there's gypsy blood in me. Romany gypsy, apparently. Are they the ones with the crystal balls and headscarves?", she asked.
"Yes, I think so".
"So where would that be from?"
"Eastern European I suppose. Is it not just Romania?".
She shrugged, excited. "Maybe it is, yeah. Romany gypsy".

This was the best one.

"You do get poltergeists too, don't you", she said.
I looked non-commital.
"Once I was having dinner with my mum and dad, and my stereo suddenly came on upstairs, all on its own. I just heard this strange noise, this weird sound followed by a bassline - dur dur dur dur dur dur dur dur dur dur dur dur DUR DUR DUR. 'I Wanna Be Adored' by the Stone Roses. Trying to speak to me, see. Cause that's not the first song on that album is it?"
Yes, it is.

"No", I said, "I don't think so".
"At least your poltergeist has good taste", I offered.
"That's exactly what I said".

The haircut cost eleven pounds and I left a big tip - amazing value.

1 comment:

Sam said...

I think it's very closed-minded and arrogant to dismiss the supernatural so flippantly, and mock those who have a different but equally valid belief system to your own.

Only joking - mad as a trifle!