“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


To Talk Or Not To Talk

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Well, I am officially unemployed. Friday was my last day working at the temp job I had held for nearly a year. When I started in October 2005, it was supposed to last until the end of December. At the time we thought we'd be building our home by then. Plans change.

I haven't posted much about the house lately. The short version is that we are currently waiting for the bank to complete the appraisal so we can get our loan, and we hope to begin building very soon.

In the meantime, I need a job. When looking for a job, of course, one likes to looks one's best. In my case that meant getting a haircut. It was sorely needed. Very sorely. My last cut was in January when I had it cut short. At first it was cute, but I soon realized that I really want long hair. Of course short haircuts rarely segue nicely into long hair and thus the desperate need of a cut 8 months later.

While I was sitting in the stylist's chair, blind as a bat without my glasses, and thinking how much the girl in the poster across the room looked like Pibgorn, which I'm sure she didn't at all, I began to wonder about the whole "talking to the stylist" phenomenon. It's been discussed at length many times before, but I experienced a slight twist on the "talk or don't talk" dilemma this time.

The woman cutting my hair was very quiet - one might almost call her mousy if it didn't sound so awful. She was really very nice, and she did a lovely job cutting my hair, but she was a lot like me in that she was a bit, um, conversationally challenged.

What I mean is this: I can pick up on a conversation if someone else starts it. I'll answer questions, give my input, etc., but I simply cannot successfully start a conversation, nor can I be expected to carry my weight in keeping the conversation alive. When one speaks to me in "real life", there tends to be a lot of blank spaces, unless the person with whom I am speaking is a conversational genius. Thus I tend to have friends who are conversational geniuses. Otherwise we'd never talk. Ever. I had a friend like me once. It was awful and weird, but that's another story for another time.

So my point is that the conversation wasn't getting very far very fast. Normally when I get my hair cut, the stylist carries the conversation for the most part. This time was different. I sat there uncomfortably wondering if I should say something. Aren't you supposed to chat with the stranger cutting your hair when you're in that funny chair with the foot bar? I wondered why I felt compelled to talk. Why couldn't I just enjoy the silence, mellow out, take a nap?

In the end, I couldn't stand it. I talked. I don't remember about what. Something inane I'm sure. And I didn't enjoy it because, as I said, I'm terrible at maintaining a good conversation. It would have been better if we had just been silent, but after so many years of chatty hairdressers, it just felt so awkward and wrong to be silent.

So here's my solution. You know those magnets you put on your dishwasher that you use to tell if the dishes are clean or dirty? Every stylist should have one of these with the choice of "talk" or "silence". If you want to talk, you put it on "talk" when you sit down in the chair. If not, you put it on "silence". If you change your mind half way through the haircut you can always change it back, but you don't have to feel guilty or uncomfortable for not talking.

Anyone else experience this or have a better solution?


At 9/20/2006 9:27 PM, Blogger Ginger wrote:

I've always preferred silence, and I've NEVER had a silent stylist. They always jibber-jabber 90 miles a minute while I'd rather they let me catch up on my magazine reading in peace. But then again, you did say something about being blind as a bat without your glasses, so that excuse wouldn't work.

Okay, I guess I have no ideas. ;)

At 9/20/2006 9:46 PM, Blogger Blond Girl wrote:

I'm so sorry that I can't relate. As you so wonderfully alluded to, I am a conversational genius (query: Is is confidence or arrogance for me to make that statement? hmmmm).

My problem is shutting up if the stylist wants to be quiet!

Now the real question is, when are you sending me a picture of your cute new hair?!?!!?

At 9/22/2006 8:26 AM, Blogger Jeana wrote:

That is too funny.

And I agree, we must have a new hair picture.

At 9/24/2006 10:20 PM, Anonymous Jan wrote:

I like the talk/no talk button!
I have been letting my hair grow for a good while. It's almost to the bottom of my shoulder blades now. There is a great website about growing long hair--I think it is called hair boutique. Lots of ideas for hair styles too.


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