Familiarity, familiarity, familiarity March 14, 2007Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Darlings, you must tell me to stop when the time is right.
But until you do, more booze and haircuts for you.
Now what’s the use in going to all that effort to autistically find the only alcoholic pensioner hairdresser in Berlin so that you can be sure you can sit in sleepy silence during the worst half-hour of every six-week period only for her to either go on the wagon or up her intake – couldn’t quite tell the difference – and decide to get all chatty on my ass? Having thought I’d perfected one tiny aspect of my life, I see it’s time to move on.
Which is a shame. We had a nice little arrangement. I’d go into the always-deserted salon. Express my desires. She’d satisfy them to the best of her ability and, were it not for the almost-constant burpettes throughout, I’d trot along happily when the job was done without anything more than the most strictly necessary of utterances having passed our lips (plus the odd shot of nerve-settling poison that she’d sneak off round the back for). Even the price was right.
But that was before the rise in VAT and her decision to go on the wagon or double her intake. I trotted in this week. There she was, customerlessly idle, looking as Slocombe-like as ever she did. I don’t know if it was the new hair-sweeper-upper I saw loitering around the place that had pepped her up a bit, but she insisted on chat. And call me inexperienced in such matters if you will, but as she rammed my face into her heaving bosom for some logistically-tricky stage of the proceedings, I think there was even a glint of the flirty Mrs. Slocombe in her eye. There were playful grins. Coquettish chuckles.
“So, you come in from work, then?” I was so combi-shocked at the thought of having to converse, realising I was in Germany and the preposterous idea that anyone might think I had a job that I shouted a rather graceless, “Was?” back at her before coming to my senses. While mulling over which replacement hairdresser I should now go to, I did my spiel – “Naa, work at ‘ome, dunn I” – and then nodded and hummed my agreement as she gently burped and spoke Berlinese in my direction for the rest of the haircut. But just as I was thinking I could put up with a bit of a minor flirt with the drunker/sobering-up Mrs. Slocombe for half an hour once every six weeks after all, she mentioned the dreaded loyalty card. This contact was getting far too human for my liking. Chit-chat was bad enough but then having to explain every time I came in that she should have my card stored somewhere in a drawer? And then there were the painstaking efforts of her recording what I’d had done. (Shavey-thing. 6mm. Dry cut.) And my name and address. “Ooh, what an odd surname!” “Yes, I’m English.” “Ooh, yes – burpette – I thought there was something funny about you.” And then the standard joke about my surname, which is sort of similar to an everyday German word. And then the announcement of the new, improved, 2007 price. “What!” I said internally. “I could have had a homosexual or girl-with-exposed-midriff to do it for that price,” but then remembered that I didn’t want them to cut my hair, as they might talk about pop-music or, worse, fashion.
It’s awfully tricky. Where does a wannabe hermit get a nice bit of social silence in this day and age?