Saturday, 1 September 2007
Of itchy feet, bacteria, and hair
Went to get my hair done today and i was just thinking, on the list of my worst things in the world to do EVER, getting my hair done ranks very high. Unfortunately, it's one of those things that have to be done because (1) bad hair days suck like a vacuum, and (2) i have to keep perpetuating the myth amongst my non-black work colleagues, that i do indeed have naturally long and luscious locks growing out of my head....the suckers!!!
So, i take myself off to the salon because i failed to make an appointment with my favourite home-based underground economy-enjoying, hairdresser. As i step in , i'm greeted by a cacophony of chatter in an African language which i can't quite place. However, within seconds, they have me pegged as a Nigerian. They even manage to pinpoint my tribe (or ethnic group, if one is to be PC) as i pick out the word 'Yoruba' from one woman's otherwise unintelligible sentence after she looks me up and down. This prompts more up and down looks from the others as they check me out as if to confirm or refute their colleague's claim. Me, i'm like, yeah whatever, just come and plait my hair so i can get out of here and do some more exciting things with the rest of my Saturday.
Out of curiosity, I ask one of the ladies what language they're speaking. 'Igala', she says, 'from Congo'. Not very much else happens really. The 10 minute wait i was promised stretches out into half an hour, so i pull out my copy of Atonement by Ian McEwan and get stuck in. I must finish it before the film adaptation of the book opens in cinemas across the nation, come next weekend.
They eventually begin my hair, and i subsequently lose track of the number of people who actually take part in the process. It's all good, sha. The sooner i can get out of there the better. Maybe not so good actually, as one of them has a cold and keeps sneezing. To her credit she turns away when she does it. However, i'm a bit obsessive compulsive about things like that (i.e. what i choose to call human emissions). I have therefore developed strategies e.g when a person sneezes/coughs near you without covering their mouths, do not under any circumstances hold your breath immediately. It takes a few seconds, you see, for the bacteria laden mist to travel to you, and as such, you are not in any immediate danger of inhaling. Instead of holding your breath, take a deep breath of the air while it is still clean, and then by the time the horrible snotty mist hits your air space seconds later, you can effectively hold your breath until it passes. Try it. It works.
But still on the issue of turning away versus covering the mouth with a hand, at least since she turned away, the worst case scenario is that my clothes, the fine hairs on the back of my neck and on my arms get coated in a fine mist of snot. The alternative would be that she sneezes into her hand (as good manners dictate), and then continues to plait my hair, thus leaving a permanent deposit on my person. I think i got the lesser of the two evils, don't you?
Anyway, that was that, sha. Hair finished, paid up the salon inflated price with great resentment. Note to self, next time you will contribute to the underground economy and you will like it too!
I'm already picturing the scene at work on Monday morning.
Colleagues - Aah UndaCova, you've changed your hairstyle again
UndaCova (with narrowed eyes and through gritted teeth) - It's called getting your hair done, not changing your hairstyle (in my mind, 'how many times to i have to repeat that'!!!!)
I don't know, but to me the whole concept of 'changing your hairstyle' on a frequent basis speaks of some airheaded Bimbo who's is unable to make up their mind about how to wear their hair. Totally different kettle of fish. We (most black women) have no choice!
Also, speaking of bacteria, my feet are getting severely itchy (in the metaphorical sense, mind you! Besides, a foot infection would be fungal, wouldn't it? Oh, never mind...). I'm starting to feel that it's time for me to move on after 12 years of living in the city of London. I'm beginning to crave a new challenge. You know, the initial buzz you get when you visit a new place, perhaps on holiday. Except i wouldn't return from this particular holiday. I think London is a lovely city, especially by night. However, i think i've exhausted its unlimited resources. Theatreland, museums and art galleries, concerts and festivals, Oxford Street, the Royal Parks, my local parks, restaurants, cafes, walks along the river. I've even done a few london walks mixing in with the tourists. Great fun and you discover aspects of the city you had no clue existed even though you pass right by them everyday. On the downside, you must wear comfortable shoes. Fashion faux pas extraordinaire!!
My feet are itchy. I need a new challenge, although it might just be that i haven't had a proper holiday in two years. Which is why i promptly cancelled my scheduled trip to Naija next month (cos that would just not be a break in the true sense of the word, you get me?) and booked myself a break to Marrakech, Morocco. My first ever solo holiday, because, did i mention, i love a good old challenge. I'm looking forward to it loads and what i do next depends on how i feel when i get back.
It's a great feeling to know that i have options! That i can just up and go, and build a life in a new city (New York is looking very good at the moment). I have an 'impressive' (don't mean to sound cocky) CV and work history that means that i can work almost anywhere in the world. And to think that at the time i was racking up that history and going through hell and highwater, being underpaid and over worked and countless times in my mind jacking it all in, i thought i was suffering. But now, several years later, here i stand with doors of opportunity open to me! All i can say to that is that persistence pays off in the end.
Well, that was my Saturday for you. I'm also quite annoyed with myself because i failed to save the second draft of another post i've been working on and now have to start all over. Anyhoo, watch this space.
Over and out.