You Always See People You Know When Living In The Dalles

You live in The Dalles, a city with approximately 13,000 – 15,000 people depending on the source. Either way, its much less then the city you came from. In contrast, Portland has about 600K people sitting one on top of the other. There are good and bad that go with living in a town with such a small population.

The good: You see people you know or recognize all the time. In fact, every time you go out you either see someone you know, someone you’ve done business with or someone who lives near you.

The bad: You see people you know or recognize all the time. In fact, every time you go out you either see someone you know, someone you’ve done business with or someone who lives near you.

Yes, the good and the bad are one in the same. Recently, the bad outweighed the good and you’re still a little red faced about it.

In Portland, your kids had their regular hair cut spot. It was a small, tidy salon staffed with Mexican stylists who understood the importance of a good fade. In fact, they had mastered the fade and knew exactly how your kids insisted it be. For a while you made the 160 mile round-trip to continue patronizing them. However, as your appointments in Portland dwindled you decided the teens would just need to find a place in The Dalles to get their haircut.

Attempt numero uno: Studio Beauty located on W. 6th street.

Review: 2 of the 3 teen boys hated their hair. It didn’t look that bad to you, but what do you know? In fact, one of the haircuts looked really good in your opinion and the other two looked acceptable. There are no bells or whistles, its a quick in and out. English is choppy, but that  has never bothered you in the past. On another subject, you also got a pedicure there and it was terrible. Sloppy polish, no foot filing and the massage was about 2 minutes long. You definitely wish you had saved your money.

Attempt numero dos: Great Clips on Mt. Hood Street.

Review: This is where shit went bad for you. The haircut just looked terrible. It was sloppy and unkempt  looking. Before your sons chair was spun around, you knew he was going to be mad. The finished product was similar to what you remembered as an overgrown bowl-cut. Not cool, right? After double checking with your son, you asked for some revisions. Instead of accepting the constructive criticism, the stylist repeated everything you said in an incredulous questioning tone. “It’s uneven?!”, she questioned as she combed through the tangled knots. It was her tone. It was shitty and you could feel your annoyance building.

“Just fix it!” and “I don’t care what the notes from last time say” are things that may have been snapped in her direction. Eventually she evened it out  but it was obvious her skill level wasn’t matching up with your expectations. You paid for the service, left a tip and walked out the door – never to return again.

You really didn’t think of her again until your other son asked to have a friend over, to which you agreed. As the visit neared, your son adds that his friends mom wants to meet you and she’ll be at the house to drop her kid off on Friday after school. As he walks away, he adds on, “Oh, and his mom is that hair stylist you were being mean to – the one that cut T’s hair”.

First off, you weren’t being mean. You were being assertive, or so you thought. Second, god-damn it. Why does this always happen to you? Maybe this is something you need to be more careful of as a small town-liver? Or maybe not.

Friday comes and Friday goes. You had prepared the perfect, light-hearted response to meeting her face to face. It was going to be more of a play it by ear thing. If she mentioned it, you’d apologize and move on quickly. If she didn’t mention it, neither would you. However, at the last minute you get a phone call from her instead – she was super busy that day and needed to just go over some instructions about her kid. Whew! Crisis averted – or pushed to the back burner to deal with at a later date.

You’d like to learn from this experience. You hope it reminds you to be mindful about what you say, the tone of your voice and the look on your face. In reality you already feel that old boldness creeping back. You try, but in the end, you do your thing.

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