I am sitting on a bench hewed from logs in front a greasy spoon. It is lightly raining on me. A few feet away is the locked door to the hair salon that is supposed to be open. The stylist should have started my haircut ten minutes ago, but no one has showed up. There is a note on the door saying she’ll rerturn at 5:30 but 5:30 has come and gone. I dearly wanted this haircut because I am seeing my mother in a few days and a haircut was going to be her birthday present. She’s never liked it when my hair grows long.
I am not angry or frustrated that the stylist is late, or perhaps never coming. My mind makes use of waiting in rain. I was early as usual. I like to arrive early to all aspects of my life and believe the habit has proved itself a secret weapon for me.
Where is the stylist? Can’t be traffic since the town only has one traffic light. Is she even aware she’s late and has a new customer waiting?
I kill ten minutes in a nearby thrift store. Nothing of interest in stock except two wooden tennis rackets, Jack Kramers, the model I already own.
I walk back into rain and around the parking lot. No one in the salon. I get into my car and drive away. Sorry mom. Your present will be the promise of a haircut.
A few minutes later I get a call. I listen to the voice mail when I reach home. It was the stylist. She was at the laundromat (two blocks away), apparently lost track of time, and issues a tepid apology. Maybe I can come tomorrow? No offers of a free or reduced cost haircut.
I decide I’ll try another stylist and see where that goes. I’m going to find a salon with an interesting name, perhaps even one with something ungrammatical in the title.