Friday, May 13, 2005

More Birthday and a Haircut

I talked to the birthday boy about an hour ago. He says his mom is taking him out to buy the game. Thanks to the poster who looked up the price--it's $35.99, which is more like what I expected. Well, they own a Playstation so I guess they can get a game now and then.

Thanks to Su Casa, I am able to offer the birthday boy a free ticket to a play downtown tomorrow. One of the volunteers called me today and invited me to come in lieu of tutoring this week. They need an additional driver. Plus, they have one or two extra tickets, so I can bring the birthday boy along for the ride. It's at the Merle Reskin Theater downtown.

Last night my friend Isabel, who lives a couple blocks west of Marshfield, cut my hair. She and her husband are my only grownup friends in the neighborhood who primarily speak Spanish, but speak English well enough that I can be their friend first, not their kids. I met Isabel on a church trip to Indiana last fall--there's a Franciscan retreat center out there. We made friends in the van. Isabel thinks her English is bad, but she quickly realized after trying to talk to me in Spanish last fall that her English rocked by comparison.

Isabel is a very smart, very determined woman. She was the only woman from her village to graduate from high school in her youth. Her four children are well-behaved and good students. She landed an excellent husband back home, who eventually did college here in the States, holds down a good job in facilities at a large university here in town, doesn't run around, and actually tries to be of some help with the kids. Although of course Isabel could use more help with the kids than he succeeds in offering, which she complains about.

Isabel has a passion for hair. Years ago she worked in a salon, but now she has a back problem and four kids, two still in preschool. These days she has a station set up in her kitchen--a chair, lots of brushes, dryers, and curling equipment. She keeps her extensive stash of hair coloring products in the bathroom. Every time I have stopped by on a weeknight she's been doing somebody's hair--shaving a teenage boy's head or giving one of her friends highlights.

Back in February I got my first haircut from her. I used to spend about 50 bucks a pop at a North Side salon called Karma on my chic super-short dos, but that was before I took on two mortgages to get a house. Isabel charges "seven or eight." In February I was so happy I handed her a ten and refused the change. It grew out nicely, too. She figured out how to make the ends flip out and stay flipped out, even though I don't even own a blow-dryer.

But lately it's been feeling kind of long and shaggy, and I'm going to a fancy banquet to raise scholarship money for Holy Cross/IHM kids tomorrow night, so it seemed like time to get it cut. Isabel and I pored over her haircut magazine collection and I found a style I liked, so we gave it a try. I'm afraid my own ambivalence about getting my hair cut showed. I was kind of liking how it was growing out, but it needed a trim and I wasn't sure if I wanted bangs back or not. So now I have bangs and a cut that fell somewhere between the picture and a slightly longer variation in one of the other pictures, which one of Isabel's daughters pointed out afterwards. Daughter number two takes after her mom and likes hairstyling, though her own long black hair is usually just up in a ponytail. Clearly Isabel felt bad that I wasn't as enthusiastic--she charged me six bucks and insisted I take home some chicken. My fridge is a little bare, so I took the chicken, but I feel bad that she feels bad. I woke up this morning and liked it better.

I will have to make sure Isabel knows she's a godsend in the hair department. I'm a terrible hair client and hate trying to make my desires known to a stylist, since half the time I don't know what I want anyway. I was dreading finding someone in the neighborhood to cut it, since if I can't explain myself in English about my hair, how was I ever going to do it in Spanish? So, believe me, I can put up with a little ambivalence now and then. As long as she keeps getting the flip right at the bottom and charging me nothing, I'm happy.

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