how things have changed

I haven’t climbed in a month. Well, minus one day trip to Tahoe, I haven’t climbed in a month. But tomorrow, I leave for Wyoming. Even after seeing many new places, Ten Sleep is still my favorite. So as you could imagine, I’m really excited to get back out there. There’s something about that place that just makes me feel like myself. I’ve missed it, and I can’t wait to be climbing again.

Here’s a short (true) story for you all.

I went to get my haircut at one of those low-cost salons in town. Super Cuts, or something like that. I walked in, got sat down right away, and a woman named Diane started combing out my hair.

“You work in the sun or something? Your hair is real dry.”

She had long, straight hair, and eyes with dark makeup. When she got close, I smelled cigarettes.

“I don’t work in the sun, but I spend a lot of time out there.”

“How do you spend a lot of time doin’ anything but working?”

I didn’t know how to answer. Thankfully she kept talking. “You use conditioner?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Well, what kind? Cause it’s not working,”

I tried to remember the last time someone said something that honest to me. I smiled. “Umm, I think it’s called Avalon Organics.”

She set the comb on the counter and put her hands on my shoulders. Through the reflection in the mirror, she looked me into the eyes for the first time.

“That organic stuff,” she said slowly. “Do not buy it. Don’t purchase it, but also, don’t buy into it. I don’t wanna go as far as to say it’s a hoax, but those companies, they’re taking too much money for a bunch of stuff that isn’t any better for your hair than your grandma’s shampoo.”

I nodded.

“You know,” she said. “I’ve been doin’ this for 35 years. Cutting hair, I mean.”

I wanted to ask her if she was bored. Instead, I said, “You must really love it then.”

“Sure. My grandmother did it, and so did my Aunt, and her daughter.”

“Then it’s in your blood,” I said.

“I guess so,” she said. The scissors made a satisfying chopping sound as my dead ends fell to the floor.

“Things sure have changed since back then though,” she pursed her lips. She stopped chopping and looked at me in the mirror again. “Just ten years back, it was all about the customer. We’d sit someone down, chat them up, help them forget about their day, and give them a nice haircut. But now, it’s all about pushing the products. Push, push, push. Our main goal is to sell them leave-in cream and hair spray.” She ran a comb from my scalp to the bottom inch of my hair. Chop. The crispy, frayed hair fell to the floor.

“I got fired from the other salon cause I wasn’t selling enough products. I’ve got no idea when that became my job. But now, it really, really is.”

“I think that’s how a lot of companies are,” I replied.

“Well. I think it’s a shame. Things have changed a lot,” she said, shaking her head.

“A whole lot.”


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