Some people wish they could be someone else for an hour, to live somebody’s life for a day, or escape there own lives for a week. I don’t think I ever have to wish such things, because whenever I get a haircut I become someone else.
It was payday. I had a new haircut. I had just finished a new job interview that seemed to go well. Overall I was feeling good, so I decided for lunch I would visit a restaurant that didn’t have a drive-thru.
I stepped up to the counter and waited. Just ahead of me the waitress on the other side was helping a little old lady figure out her pin number for the debit machine. I am sure I have stood behind that very same lady during Christmas’s past, but I was in a good mood so I didn’t mind waiting as she tried her grand-kids’ birthday, her husband’s first pet, and the first six numbers from one to ten.
Since I was the only one in line behind her, I stepped aside to read the posted specials of the day on the chalkboard just around the corner of the counter. Just as I was about to step back, a middle-aged couple jumped up from a nearby table and had taken the spot in line that had once been mine. I looked at them but couldn’t make eye-contact because they were busily whistling to themselves and tapping a foot, while, separately, studying different corner moldings in the restaurant’s ceiling. They knew they had cut in the line but seeing them trying to act innocent made me laugh and I thought to myself, Oh you two are so going to be blogged about! Now, they were the ones stuck behind the the little lady with the penchant for forgetting pin numbers, pulling out another card for the waitress to try. I was in too good of a mood to be bothered and being at the end of the line I was free to wander over next to their table and check out what they had left for a tip. I didn’t see any.
The old lady had the right pin number all along, just the wrong card. The couple paid there bill quickly and headed out the door pass me. I moved to the counter where the tall, young waitress with dark hair stood, looking down at a number of bills in her hand and arranging them in the cash register drawer. Without glancing up, she spoke. “What can I do for you, dear?”
I replied. “Can I have a Jumbo Burger and Fries to go please?”
She briefly glanced my way and in a condescending tone snapped, “Oh, I don’t know. Can you?” She laughed under her breath, looking back down at the cash register. I don’t know who’s eyes went wider, mine or the shorter waitress’ who just stepped out of the kitchen.
“I’m sorry,” I apologized, then realizing my error, tried again, “ `May’ I have a Jumbo Burger and Fries to go please?”
The shorter woman, with her curly black hair pulled back in a ponytail, slapped the taller woman on the arm. “Don’t be rude to the customer!” The woman who was taking my order smiled a lovely smile at her co-worker and then looked at me with that same pretty smile and was about to say something with a sparkle in her eye.
I meet her eyes and smiled back, then with a laugh, said, “For a moment I thought I was in elementary school all over again, trying to get permission from my teacher to go to the bathroom.”
It was at that instant I could see the sparkle in her eye vanish and the realization dawn on her face, that whoever she had mistakenly believed me to be was not who I was.
That happens a lot when I get a haircut.