I hate department store elevators. Really, I try to avoid them at all cost. However, having 4 kids, 6 and under, I tend to be pushing a stroller every time I frequent the mall (which is not often). The elevator is always way off the beaten path in some dingy, spooky corner and I feel like I should be carrying mace as I resist the urge to look over my shoulder, again.

I had a hair appointment last night. It was (cringe) on the upper level of a department store. With a stylist I had never been to before. His name was Paul. I had every intention of just getting a trim, cleaning up some layers, and maybe framing my face. It had been months since my hair had seen a pair of scissors. (Truthfully, over a year- and maybe pushing two, so there was a lot of cleaning up to do.) As I sat staring at myself, 5 1/2 weeks postpartum, with disheveled hair that looked and felt more like a mop, I watched as my reflection told Paul’s that we were going short. We talked about a few options and I totally put the ball in his court.

(I then drifted off to heaven while I received a shoulder, neck, and scalp massage- included with the cut.)

My nerves assaulted me, and I came hurtling back down to earth as he towel dried my freshly washed hair and I questioned the wisdom of leaving my new “do” to his discretion, someone I’d met only moments before. Just so you have the details, I’d only booked the appointment the night before. That couldn’t be a good sign, could it?

I tried to back pedal a bit. Made sure he knew I didn’t want anything high maintenance. He promised me it would not be and added that most of the teachers whose hair he cuts went with this style, and “they have to get up at like, 4”. Now, no offense, I have some darling teacher friends who are way more stylish than I could ever dream to be. That being said, I can’t really imagine walking into a Salon and asking for the “teacher haircut”, please? It’s like shopping for clothes and asking where you can find the mom jeans. Not really something you go looking for. (Not to say they won’t find you. The mom jeans that is.) My palms were sweating.

Then he began talking trekky. You see, I didn’t want to feel like I had to rush home so I toted the youngest one with me. Which led to Paul asking her name and when I answered, he responded with, “Oh, like Nurse Chapel.” I had no idea what he was referencing. I admitted it. He told me about Nurse Chapel, from Star Trek and that it was his life and he had learned a lot of important lessons from the show. (Did you know that Star Trek is the only show that Martin Luther King, Jr. let his children watch? Me neither.) He then continued to school me in all things Star Trek. All the while I was willing my angel baby to wake up, wailing, so I could excuse myself and run from the parlor before he started in on my head. Lest he mistake my idea of “short” for something like this:

On she slept. And am I ever glad she did. I think I lost 10 lbs. just sitting in Paul’s chair as he snipped away. Why, oh, why did I wait so long to cut my hair? I feel like a new woman. Plus, the next time I meet a lover of Star Trek I’ll have something to talk about.

And besides that, Paul informed me they were sending all of my discarded hair to the gulf, where someone makes special mats from the hair and they place them in the ocean to help sop up the oil. (I realize as I’m typing this that I should probably do some research to verify that before I just post it to the blog but I don’t have that kind of time so I am taking Paul at his word.) Besides, it feels good to think I did something to help out so I’ll just leave it at that.

I braved the elevator, survived (and embraced) the haircut, and maybe helped the environment in some small way. A pretty productive day all in all.