Yesterday I placed a phone call to the local Mardel Christian Book Store. Was I looking for a specific book? No. Did I need a quote for homeschool curriculum? Not quite. Was I calling to inquire if they are an official Operation Christmas Child drop-off location again this year? Not so much.
The conversation went something like this...
“Mardel's, can I help you?”
“Uh....Hi. Uh...I, um...I have a bit of an odd request. I'm looking for one of your employees.”
And then, with abandon, I spewed forth my mind-boggling crazy speech.
“She has a daughter named Erika who used to be a hair stylist at Fantastic Sam's and I know this is weird but I called to make an appointment and they said she wasn't there anymore and they wouldn't give me any information about where she went but then, thankfully, I remembered Erika said her mom works at Mardel and so...”
The woman on the other end of the line interrupted, saving me from spiraling out of control, and said “Yes, that would be me.”
“Really? YES!!” (while double fist pumping the air)
But I still went right over the edge anyway...
“Oh that is so awesome! I called Fantastic Sam's and they said she wasn't working there anymore. And you know how those other stylists just want to get your business and they were withholding your daughter's new employment information from me as if it was high-level classified stuff. I even called them twice to see if I could get a different girl to tell me where Erika went. But that girl wouldn't give it up either. How rude! And, you see, she's the only one who can cut my boy's hair. She's so gentle and sweet with them and she does a really fine job. You should know that, as her mother and all. She's a really great stylist. Then I started worrying about her. Did she quit because she got so busy with nursing school? Or were the other stylist's mean to her there? Did she find a salon closer to home? Is she even still cutting hair?! Because I will just be lost if she's not cutting hair anymore!”
But I saved my best line for last.
“Oh, and I promise I'm not a stalker!”
As if Erika's sweet mother had even an ounce of reason to believe that.
Can I give you a bit of background here? I feel as though I need to offer some justification for the loss of sanity. So here it is: when it comes to my children I've had a difficult time finding and keeping hair stylists. It took a while to find our favorite stylist, Miss Pam, who worked at a shop marketed especially for kids. It was one of those places where the boys got to sit on carousel-like horses during their trim instead of a typical salon chair. They had a play area with a Thomas train table, complete with tons of track and engines. The boys could also watch videos while having their hair combed, spritzed and buzzed. It doesn't get much better than riding a horse and watching Lightning McQueen at the same time! Not only was the environment heavenly, Miss Pam was amazing. She was sweet and gentle and fast. With an emphasis on fast.
One day I called to make an appointment with Pam and was told that the shop had change owners and Pam was no longer working there. (Don't get me started on the immediate panic and despair that hung over me). No, she didn't know where Pam went, but we were welcome to come in and Rebecca, the new owner with whom I was speaking, would be happy to give the boys a trim. The thing was this: I wasn't really getting good phone vibes from Rebecca. But I took a deep breath, decided it was probably just the shock of no-more-Miss-Pam I was feeling, and set up a time for the next afternoon.
When it came time to take the boys for their haircuts I explained that Miss Pam wasn't there anymore and we would get to meet Miss Rebecca instead. We walked in the door and were greeted by the one and only woman in the shop. It could only be Rebecca. Sadly, the woman in front of me did not invoke the need for the respectful title “Miss”. I may be clueless about fashion but I did not think it lady-like to wear a bra and skin tight, lace-up leather pants to a place of business. Maybe the lace-sleeved cardigan that covered absolutely nothing made it acceptable?
The only two words I can conjure to describe her are “hard” and “living”. Imagine the result of a hard-lived life and you'll visualize Rebecca. I wanted to grab the boys, make a 180 and bolt out the door. But I didn't. I smiled, shook her hand and introduced her to the boys. Then I tried desperately to stop staring at the tear-drop prison tattoos under her right eye as she gave the boys an ever-so-average haircut.
The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder set in quickly after that event and I vowed to never take the boys to a stylist that didn't come with a personal recommendation. Thankfully, it wasn't long until someone told me about Erika.
Erika is young and fun. Her own hair is white and pink and black. All at the same time. She is so sweet and kind to the boys. She is gentle and quick and knows exactly just how tight to clip the cape around their neck so 1) they don't choke but 2) they don't get little hairs down their shirt, which causes much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the car on the way home. And, best of all, she gives them a sucker when they are done. Erika quickly became our new favorite stylist. It was for these reasons, along with my PTSD that I went a little “one flew over the cuckoo's nest” on Erika's poor innocent mother.
So, back to yesterday's phone conversation...
Probably in an effort to get me to stop foaming at the mouth, Erika's mom told me that her daughter was, indeed, still cutting hair and gave me the name and location of her new salon. No doubt she hung up with me and instantly called Erika to warn her about the freakazoid stalker client who hunted her down and plans to schedule an appointment soon.
In fact, it's on my to-do list for this afternoon. I wonder what in the world Erika is going to think when I say, “Hello! Remember me? How in the world could you just up and leave me stranded and alone with no one to cut my children's hair? Don't you know I NEED you?! How's tomorrow at 3:00?”
I can not wait to find out.