Girl Talk: The Long, Long Saga of a Very, Very Bad Hair Day in Podunk

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O.K. This is really long, but stay with me.

Saturday morning started out full of promise. It was gray and rainy outside, but I was excited about going to a swanky downtown salon in the “Big City” (Kalamazoo) for a haircut and some pampering.

I’d done a lot of research scouring the Yellow Pages and Internet for area hairdressers. This salon looked like it would be THE ONE.

You know.

The one where I get a haircut so fabulous that it changes my life, forever.

Choirs of angels come down from heaven singing.

Hollywood starts calling.

That kind of fabulous.

I wasn’t the only who wanted to get my haircut at this salon. There was a two week wait for an appointment.

I did my hair that morning even though I knew they’d wash it, because I couldn’t have the people at the salon thinking I went around with messy hair.

Why is it that your hair lays wrong for weeks because it’s too long, but when you do it right before going to the beauty shop it looks perfect?

Finished with my hair, I obsessed for 20 minutes over what to wear. You can’t just go to a salon like that in shorts and a T-shirt. The employees and other clientele were sure to be hip and fashionably dressed. What would not look like I tried to hard, and not like I spent most days cleaning up spilled milk and Legos? I settled on some flip-flops with a wedge heel, capris and a floaty linen top. It probably still said “Mom”, but hopefully “Mom with a Little Flair”.

While agonizing over what to wear, I used up the extra 15 minutes I’d given myself in case I had trouble finding the salon. I grabbed my Yahoo directions, and ran out the door. In the car I skimmed over them, pretty sure I knew where I was going.

As I entered downtown, I had a feeling I wasn’t quite in the right place. Looking over the directions more carefully, I realized I should have taken the business route rather than the freeway. I was on the opposite side of the city from where I needed to be. But the salon was located on the Kalamazoo Mall, a popular downtown destination. There was directional signage everywhere leading the way, so I followed.

I found the Kalamazoo Mall, a ONE-WAY street lined with shops. I turned right, the only way I could. And I drove and drove looking for a building number to give me a clue about where I was on the mall. Finally, I saw a number that told me that I was again at the total opposite end of where I should be.

So close, yet SO far away.

It was 9 o’clock. My appointment was at 9 o’clock, the same time the salon opened. I reasoned that it would be alright to be a few minutes late since they were probably just unlocking the doors and getting things set up.

At this point I would have parked my car at the wrong end of the street, and walked the four blocks in the other direction, except that it was pouring down rain, and I of course did not have an umbrella. The rain would have turned my oh so carefully selected white blouse into see-through tissue paper.

Traffic was light this early on a Saturday in downtown, and I weighed the risks of simply turning my car around on this one-way street and dodging the few on-coming vehicles.  But I decided against it, and went around the block to the parallel one-way street running in the opposite direction.

I was naive to think that the street ran parallel. For it curved. It curved so much that I ended up at the business route exit I should have taken in the first place. Now I was 10 minutes late. But all I had to do was turn around, and follow the Yahoo directions to my destination.

According to my directions I was supposed to turn onto Burdick street. I looked and looked for Burdick. I looked until I was a half an hour late.

I never did find Burdick.

Frustrated beyond the point of return, I headed toward home.

Why didn’t I ask for directions? At 9 a.m., on Saturday morning, in downtown, in a rain storm, there is no one to ask.

Why didn’t I call the salon from my cell phone? I forgot to bring the number with me.

What makes me a COMPLETE IDIOT is that this was the SECOND time in less than a year that I’d made an appointment to try a new salon in Kalamazoo, and missed that appointment because I couldn’t find it. And it’s the SECOND time that I’ve taken the freeway, instead of the business route, and gotten completely turned around.

On-Star, Garmin — I need some kind of help.

Let me just say this Kalamazoo. It would be easier for a girl to find her way around if:

1. You put address numbers on the front of your buildings


2. You marked your streets with signs!

I discovered later that I crossed Burdick three times. I didn’t know it, because there is no sign at that particular intersection.

The story could, and should, end here.

But it doesn’t.

If you are bored to tears this is a good place to stop and click over to the giveaway contest. If you want to know more, go to the bathroom, get a snack, then settle in for The Rest of the Story.

As I drove home the only thing holding back sobs of disappointment was the thought of how bloggable my misfortune was.

I had no idea it was about to get even better — or worse.

Back home, I stormed in the door making it clear to husband and son that I was in no mood to be bothered. I locked myself in the bathroom with the phone and Yellow Pages, determined to find some place to get my hair cut.

I live out in the country between Hooterville and Bedford Falls, with Mayberry just a stone’s throw away. There aren’t a lot of what I would call swanky salons close to home, but a well-designed ad made a salon and day spa in Mayberry look like a good choice.

I called.

Could I come in at 11:30?

Yes I could!

To get there all I had to do was follow a few familiar roads a short distance.

And there are NO one-way streets to deal with in Podunk.

I drove a little slower than usual, afraid that I was about to get in a car accident just because it was One of Those Days. But I arrived at the Mayberry Salon and Day Spa with out incident.

The first thing I noticed was that the building resembled a log cabin. Not exactly what I expect of a salon and day spa, unless maybe it’s in Aspen.

The second thing I noticed was that underneath the salon’s name on the sign were the words, “And Storage”. Glancing behind the log cabin I saw rows and rows of storage rental facilities. Odd, but by that point nothing was going to stop me.

I opened the door expecting to see lodge decor. I would not have been at all surprised had some kind of animal carcass been hanging on the wall.

Instead my eyes landed on zebra striped wall paper and hot pink trim. Over the load speaker Gwen Stefani was hollerin’ back.

The receptionist introduced me to my stylist, Charity.

Charity was probably born about the year I started high school.

I don’t have anything against younger people. When you’re looking for a hip hair style, it’s probably better to go with a young hairdresser.

It’s just that I am not used to people being younger than me. For most of my life, hairdressers, teachers, doctors were all older than me. Then they started being in my peer group. And now they are younger.

I will never forget the first time I encountered a doctor younger than me. I’d gone to my OBGYN for a pre-natal check-up. My regular OB was detained at the hospital delivering a baby, so he sent an intern.

I’m tellin’ ya, when Doogie Houser walked in that door, I almost went into labor right then. He looked so young. I was afraid that if he did a pelvic exam, I’d get arrested for some sort of misconduct with a minor afterward.

Fortunately there were no stirrups involved. I didn’t get arrested, and his innocence remained in tact.

Young Charity showed me to my chair, and I took my glasses off. My near-sightedness dimmed the wallpaper enough that it stopped hurting my eyes.

Charity tried to make conversation with me as she cut my hair. She told me all about her weekend plans to hang out at some hot night club downtown, where I had just been. (Should I have offered to give her directions?) Then when she asked me about my weekend plans, it became all too painfully clear how little we had in common.

I decided that, “This,” was too lame of an answer. So I tried to explain to her that with a three-year-old, weekend plans don’t really happen so much.

She just gave me a sympathetic smile. I’m sure she was wondering how I could stand to have such a boring life, and vowed right then and there to never get married and have children. I’m very sorry if I shattered all her illusions about Happily Ever After.

I have to say, Charity did a nice job on my hair. There aren’t any angels singing and Hollywood hasn’t called yet, but I like it.

I don’t know if I will return. There’s just something disconcerting about that much animal print in one place.

I am going to get in my car, go back to Kalamazoo and find that other salon.

Then I’m going to make an appointment there, under an alias of course, so that they don’t know I’m the women who blew them off when there was a two week waiting list.

And maybe I’ll buy a GPS.

O.K. If you stayed with me for the whole thing you deserve a prize, make sure you enter this week’s Girls Just Wanna Win Swag Giveaway.


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3 Responses to “Girl Talk: The Long, Long Saga of a Very, Very Bad Hair Day in Podunk”

  1. Eve Salonspa Says:

    Sorry you got lost. Next time come to Eve near Sam’s club on Westnedge- easy to find about a mile south of I-94. When you show up Print this page for $5.00 off. See you soon!!

  2. Holly Says:

    I always thought you had great hair, salon or no salon 🙂 I personally STAY away from beauty shops.. They just never do what I ask them to do–and even got the COMPLETE opposite of what I asked them to do once. Hmm, maybe that’s the secret–tell them what you DON’T want done, and then they’ll do it the way you want it!

  3. acupofjoy Says:

    Hey…don’t forget about our local hair stylist, Janel…I can give you her number…she’s just a walk away from your in-laws.

    Great story! Lucky you! You even got a $5 off coupon for it. Say, I should start blogging my bad days and see what kind of coupons I can get! 🙂

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