A while back I was in desperate need for some help with my hair. I will admit I’ve been spoiled over the years, having others cut and color my hair. A friend of mine in Los Vilos always seemed to have her hair styled nicely, so I got the name of her ‘beautician’ (now there’s a word from the past!) and headed over for my appointment with Carola at her ‘Peluqueria’. It is always nice to chat with the lady doing your hair but having very limited conversation skills, our ‘chat’ was pretty soon dead. Carola owns a spacious beauty-parlor. When I arrived I was the only customer for the first 15 min. then a few more patrons entered and sat down to wait their turn. It was very cold inside! She was the only one working and there must have been 10-15 people waiting by the time I left. Chileans seem to be very patient when they have to be, in a Post Office or government line. However, they all know how to push their way to the front of a counter and get served first when that is an option! I felt like I had an audience this day, but if there was anything out of the ordinary happening, they didn’t seem to notice.
Carola began coloring my hair by ‘painting’ the dye on top of my hair with a paintbrush; yes, a real big, clumsy paintbrush that splattered everywhere. *I know Dale can sympathize with the ‘paint brush’ issue because he has helped paint homes with really horrible brushes and paint that is more water than paint. Next she pulled out a box of plastic wrap and proceeded to ‘wrap’ my entire head several times with saran wrap. I was then moved under a large electric heater. A type of helmet was put over my head (different from the hair dryers I’ve ever seen used in the states). When I began to hear a loud noise, I looked up into the mirror across the room. I was startled to see huge clouds of steam escaping out of my helmet-covered head. *Here’s where I was reminded of a movie our family loved to watch called ‘Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang’. There’s a scene where the father (Dick Van-Dyke) goes to a carnival to earn some money, taking with him his latest invention; a hair-cutting device that is attached & powered by him pedaling his bicycle. By the time he notices the smell of burnt hair, and he turns to see his client, there is smoke pouring out from the helmet and then, when removed, there is not a hair left on the top of his head.* This was the image I saw when I looked into the mirror at the Peluqueria! I remember thinking this can’t be happening. It’s 2014 and I am in Chile in a nice salon paying to have my hair done. I remember hearing the Eagles sing “hotel California” on a bad radio connection, as I was being cooked under the loud machine. I was relieved that my prayers were answered and I still had all my hair when she finally set me free. But not for long. Because next I was taken over to the hair-cutting chair and out came the Razor Blade! It is the first and hopefully last hair cut I’ve ever had that was done entirely with a razor blade. I was left with super short and a very ‘ragged’ cut. When I got back home I found a pair of scissors and tried to even it up. The cost of this adventure wasn’t bad. (About $30 in USA dollars) Pretty cheap considering food, clothing and most everything else you buy in a store (or at the Feria) is tiny and costs about double what it would in the US.
I guess having hair (or lack of it) is one of those life-long problems we all have to endure. It’s a full time battle I’m waging against grey hairs, wrinkles, arthritis; and other aches and pains of old age. But it beats the alternative as Grandpa Roland Schram always says. I will end with this quote I love.
“I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.” ― Marjorie Pay Hinckley