CONVERSATIONS. Kori the hair stylist, Tool, favorite children, talkative clients.

What are we doing today?
she asked.

I sheepishly removed the hat I’d been wearing six days a week for the last two months.
Make me look pretty.
I said.
Maybe take some hair off here and there. As long as my wife thinks I look good and you think I look cool, then I’ll wear my new hair with good posture and pride.

She laughed.
That’s what I like to hear.

She snipped and fussed quietly while the baseball match blared from seven hundred televisions.
What grade is your daughter in?
she asked, nodding in the mirror to a person eating popcorn who looked familiar.

She is...
I thought swiftly.
She is in 5th grade. How about you? Kids?

I got five.
she said.
Hard to believe how I did that. My oldest is 24 and youngest is 11.

I said truthfully.
That’s a fun range!

she said.
Single mom now since my ex and I split two years ago. So five kids, plus my daughter got herself pregnant at 16, and now she’s got three of her own.

I bet you’re one of their very favourite people!
I said.

She shook her head wistfully.
I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like since they moved up north.

She kept working her magic on my hair, and I marveled at the different types of grandmas, like the kind I had and have, who fall into the category of Grandmas Without Noserings, and other kinds like Kori, in the category of Grandmas With Septum Piercings, and I thought how cool it is that there’s all different types of grandmas.

Have you watched any good movies, read any good books, or listened to any good music lately?
I asked, realizing later that I should have included video games in my question.

I haven’t read a book in...dang!
she exclaimed, her purple-painted eyes dancing.
It’s been years since I read! I need to start reading again, I used to love to. And movies...not really. I love music though.

I said.
And what are you enjoying?

My favourite band,
she said,
is Tool, and the two other bands their lead singer is in.

I said.
Maynard James Keenan and his other bands, A Perfect Circle and...what’s his other band?

she said.

I haven’t heard them.
I said.
But I used to listen to Tool a lot. Saw them out in the Gorge a while back.

I saw them out there too!
she said.
My daughter got us tickets and we roadtripped out there and the show was great and it was such a good memory.

I bet!
I said.

When we got home,
she said.
I woke up my son and said: ‘guess who my favorite child is? And he said ‘me?’ And I said no, definitely your sister!’

That’s sort of funny,
I said.
Sort of!

And in the morning,
she kept laughing.
I went into my other daughter’s room and said, ‘guess who’s my favourite child?’ And she said ‘me?!’ And I said ‘definitely not!’ Your sister is!, She took me to see Tool!’

The bar,
I said.
Has been set high.

she said.
Now that I’m single again I go to the shows I want. I love going to concerts. A while back I was at the Roseland with my ex and we had gotten tickets to see A Perfect Circle.

I said.

And my ex,
she continued,
knocked his drink off the ledge on the balcony and got himself kicked out. I told him: I’m stayin! Sorry, I’m not missing the show! That was red flag number four hundred and seventy-nine-point-five.

After another long twenty-second stint of silence, I asked: what is your favourite, and your least favourite part of styling hair?

My favourite,
she said.
after twenty years, is changing people’s lives for the better, and just talking with them and hearing their stories.

That’s great,
I said.

My least favourite,
she said.
Is hearing SOME of their stories. Some crazy stuff I’ve heard. 

Like what?
I said. 

I don’t know,
she said.
Like a guy who came in with an ear that looked like something had cut part of it off, and I asked what happened, if he was in a fight or something, and he said that no, he was in a car accident where two other people in the car were killed and he was in a coma for nine months.

I said.

Yeah. And then a five-year old boy whose hair I was cutting, and his mother starts telling me all about how his father is 61 years old and left her for a younger woman and kept saying ‘can you believe he’d leave me?’ And I kept thinking to myself: ‘yes, I can believe it.’ And she’s saying all this right in front of the kid.

Not cool.
I said.

She brushed me off and removed my cloak. 

I have to say,
I said as I checked myself in the mirror. That I think I look rather pretty.

Yes you do!
she said.

I left, and paid (not in that order),
and I’ll probably get her to chop some hair off my head again sometime. Just in case it takes me a while, which it always does, I’ll hang onto my favourite hat too.