Am I really breaking out in a cold sweat while on the phone to the hairdressers? Yes I am. And this is why.
In the salon I go to there is a special offer for a full head of meche highlights plus blow dry for €79. But Nuala, the only colourist who does my hair without wasting vast swathes of time discussing sandwiches and the merits of paracetemol vs. Vicks cold and flu with her colleagues, is on holidays. This is not an appointment I want to postpone for a few weeks as the reason I am getting the highlights done in the first place is to look my Olympic best on Sunday, when my youngest is being christened. But hang on a second says the receptionist, Elaine is free! Elaine, who always starts the appointment by bringing me to her chair, putting on the black capey thing that I always stand the wrong way for and promptly disappearing for about ten minutes. She returns smelling of coffee, fingers my hair (this is when I remember why I should have washed it that morning) and says “I’ll just look up your colour. What was the name?” and off she goes again.
Five minutes of practising deep breathing later, she materializes announcing
“No. It’s not here?” (In a tone that implies this is not completely my fault but definitely nothing to do with her.)
“Anyway, I’ll just do more of the same you got the last time. Cover these roots and lighten it up a bit near the front.” I nod enthusiastically(in a desperate, pathetic way) and say “Great! Thanks a million!” and she sighs the sigh of someone who has all day to do the highlights and does not have a husband at home minding children for “two hours right? You won’t be any longer will you? I have to leave at eleven. I can’t be late. Ok?” and then to the kids “Say bye-bye to Mum. She’s off for some relaxing pampering!”
I hold the phone in my slippy hand in an agony of indecision. What if the special offer is over by the time Nuala comes back from her holiday? What if Elaine remembers the not great tip I left for her the last time I was there?
“So that’s Elaine at half two on Saturday” says the receptionist “We’ll see you then.” She puts down the phone. My moan of indecision must have been mistaken for a yes.
Hanging up I take a breath. As I exhale my husband comes into the kitchen. “Your hair looks nice” he says “did you get it done recently?”