A dangerous haircut.

IMG_0874Bowral Ducks

Bowral Ducks

It was suggested more than once to go and get my hair cut. ‘You are starting to look as if sleeping rough.’ This reference isn’t exactly an encouragement to go to the barber. I have often thought of sleeping ‘rough’. Over the last fortnight we watched two TV episodes of rich people experimenting with what seems to increasingly happen in Australia, homelessness.  A few TV people were assigned to imitate the lot of those unfortunate souls that are forced to sleep outside. What was lacking in the TV show of course was that those who did sleep outside for a few nights did this out of choice, and not out of necessity. The TV cameras followed them at all times and this made it all look a bit frivolous and silly. A kind of ‘Master-chef’ and it even copied the lining up of the participants in between the ‘sleeping rough’ episodes.

My idea of sleeping rough was awakened during our walk to the State library last year in the middle of summer. Martin Place in Sydney was full of the homeless sleeping rough but it had become a well organized ‘rough sleeping’. A kitchen had been set up and as far as I could see, the homeless made the best of a desperate situation.  There was hot food, tea and coffee, and most seemed to have reasonable shelter, either by small tents or overhanging awnings, sheltering them from rain.  It also had a book exchange for those vagrants with literary aspirations.  A most innovative idea. There existed an atmosphere of brothers/and sisters united in poverty and in spirit. Tenaciously they hung in there.

Martin Place of course is one of the most prestigious open squares in Sydney and millions of visitors walk through this lovely Town Square each year. It is surrounded by expensive shops and during lunch one can see smiling stock- brokers and Van Heusen shirt wearing criminal lawyers churning and belching their rich lunches down. It is indeed a spectacle of opposites in this Martin Place that the observant walker or tourist might well witness.

But…getting back to the impending hair-cut. I always go to the same barber. It is a franchise. You push a button and out comes a ticket telling your number in the queue and how much time will lapse before one gets the hair-cut. I was lucky and had to wait just twelve minutes giving me a chance to walk around my little local town-square, alas without homeless sleeping rough.

A solid girl was assigned to my head. I told her to try and envisage the state of my hair about eight weeks earlier and take it from there. I also told her to use comb nr 7 which gives the hair cutter some idea of preferred length of hair. Once I had taken out my hearing aids and taken off my glasses, peace and quiet reigned. I noticed she sniffled a little but otherwise she seemed a healthy woman and I felt confident my head to be in good hands.

As the girl with her cutting implements did the rounds she did suppress a few coughs and at one stage took herself off to a small backroom. I could hear her racking coughing loudly. On her return I put her at ease and told her that the winter is certainly giving people colds. A bit of a silly statement but without hearing aids I could not really risk engaging a conversation  that was destined to be difficult, especially when the poor girl was obviously having a bout of flu. I felt confident in my being risk-free with having taken the precaution of the yearly ‘flu-shot.’ At one stage and after another suppressed cough, I noticed her wiping a string of nasal expelled phlegm onto her black apron. I had quickly averted my eyes away from the mirror opposite me not wanting to further embarrass the situation.  She looked at me if I had noticed anything. I did not let on I witnessed this generous nasal expulsion.

I have now, and still am having, the worst flu episode ever. Totally Crook as Rookwood and am so full of lemon and honey, bees are buzzing around. What a bore and proof that flu shots are no guarantee against not getting a cold.

http://grammarist.com/usage/as-crook-as-rookwood/

 

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39 Responses to “A dangerous haircut.”

  1. http://www.salpa58.wordpress.com Says:

    Yikes!!! Wishing you a speedy recovery. Change your hair stylist.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Dang, What a mess to get your hair cut and then get the flu from the barber girl She should not have been working. I hope you don’t get really, really ill. Do be careful and get to the doc if you develop a bad cough, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      She should have taken the day off or perhaps a few days off. But, you know Yvonne, the days of getting sick-days with full pay have long gone since. She might have been a single mum fighting like hell to keep going. Women get less paid than men and the wages have gone down and so has national welfare and security of income. This what you get when you keep giving tax breaks to the rich paid for by the poor who then get their benefits cut to the bone.
      Australia is no Holland or Scandinavia, Germany or even France.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Big M Says:

        Gerard, hairdressers are on an industrial award which guarantees the same pay for men and women. The gender pay gap,is a myth.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Perhaps in the hairdressers industry this might be so, Big M. However, generally at least in this article, claim is made than men out earn women by about $27.000,- a year.

        http://www.smh.com.au/business/men-outearn-women-by-27000-wgea-2016-gender-pay-gap-report-20161114-gsoz0q.html
        Another article claims that men out earn women by about 17%.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Big M Says:

        The gender pay gap is a myth which continues to be propagated by third wave feminists, who want equal pay for less work. If one accounts for things like qualifications, time spent away from work (evidently women are more likely to do this in addition to maternity leave), doing more dangerous jobs, etc, the gap shrinks to almost nothing. Most Western men do four to five hours of unpaid work a week, which their female counterparts don’t do.

        This isn’t a criticism of either sex, it’s likely that when the kiddies come along, women tend to value time with the family, whereas men view securing the family income by working harder and, or longer.

        BTW, if the gender pay gap were true, wouldn’t employers simply employ more women?

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Well, Big M. I thought I delve into the subject but it is almost impossible to get an answer that is definitive. Bothe sides of the coin are correct, or so it seems. One issue for Australia still seems to be the division of jobs by strictly adhering to traditional gender preferences.

        Like

      • Big M Says:

        I suspect there are a handful agitating around the edges, while the rest of us work oir guts oit, one way or another. Women trying to work forty hours a week plus bear and raise kids,,qmd men work more hours and more often. I don’t think we’re built for this!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        Same here for women not educated. It is a pitiful situation. I feel for the women.

        Liked by 1 person

      • algernon1 Says:

        I’m with Big M on this one. I manage a team of four, two me and two women. One of the women and the two men are on the same wage, the other woman is on more. Generally in our organisation men and women are on the same wage for doing the same thing.

        Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, Algy. seems I was wrong about that (t)issue. Perhaps I got roped in by over-enthusiastic feminists? Still, nothing wrong with getting roped.

        Like

  3. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    I have great sympathy Gerard. I down with something too. No fun ! Poor us. Get well soon.. Sneezing nag and nose blowing. Oh my.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Get well, Kayti.

      I am squeezing lemons with a fork and mixing it with Eucalypt honey. A few days ago someone suggested I eat crab claws on a Thai salad but I still feel crook.
      Helvi reckons I should drink more tea.
      You know that handkerchiefs are almost impossible to buy now. I went from shop to shop. Some young girls don’t understand handkerchiefs now and keep pushing those tissues that don’t last.
      I finally found cotton hankies from a Chinese $2 dollar shop.
      I then went to a River’s shop and they too sold real handkerchiefs in a nice box. I stocked up on a couple of dozens real cotton cloth hankies.
      I now have the job of unplucking those white bits of tissues from out of my pants and shirts because I still try and get a few sneezes out of the paper ones.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Big M Says:

    The influenza virus is a rapidly mutating little beast, so the influenza immunisation is, at best, a kind of second guess, but may still protect us all to some extent. Strings of mucous are difficult to resist.

    As for sleeping rough, there has been an explosion in, mainly men, who live outside. Here in Newcastle there are less than two dozen beds available for such folk, but these places are often rife with alcoholics and addicts, which makes it difficult for others struggling with addiction.

    Of course, Melbourne Council cured homelessness by making it illegal. Buggered if I know where the many hundreds of Melbourne homeless now live. Perhaps they’ve all turned to squatting??

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, the idea that rehabilitation facilities are there for the taking is a myth too, Big M. That’s why many end up sleeping outside. There are no such thing as those centres being readily available. There just aren’t the beds available.
      The beds are not available because the money is needed to keep our Border Force, Asio and AFP well oiled and ready for action.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Big M Says:

        Yes, agreed, there are some charities that provide for mothers with children, whereas single women and men struggle, often sleeping in shelters in parks. At least they ha ve electric bbqs with power outlets so they can recharge their phones, which are now mandatory if they are ever to get jobs. I think our local homeless man finally has some accommodation, which could lead to work and stability.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. jennypellett Says:

    The description of your hairdresser was totally gross…but very funny, also. Sorry you succumbed to the deadly germs, although it seems you didn’t have much choice. Hope the honey and lemon does the trick and you’re feeling better soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I am just now going to squeeze another lemon. My mum used the same method but also gave an aspirin.

      I am surprised how the cotton hanky has disappeared. I thought that at least the local Chemist would sell them. No, he was most unhelpful, yet he sells chocolates and billy-goat medication to help man feel more ‘manly’, those products are hardly curing anything.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist Says:

    Hope you get better quickly. Although I loved your description of your hairdresser’s affliction I have to admit if I’d seen the snot on her hand then pinny I would have been out of the chair even if it left me with uneven hair – mind you, by that time it was probably too late anyway.
    I was shocked by the level of homelessness in Sydney when I stayed in Phillip Street for a conference in the State Library.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Irene. The poor girl was sick and I hope she got better. She gave a good haircut despite the dire straights she was in.

      It is the first time this happened and it will not happen again.

      Mind you, some years ago I was getting my hair cut when the (male) hairdresser, out of the blue, hopped on my lap both legs astride my thighs and proceeded to snip away at the front of my hair. I was totally surprised and froze stiff on what might happen next. He did not say a word. I murmured something about the state of English politics. I thought it might have been a cultural thing, he was of Asian appearance.

      I told my brother about it and he went to the same hairdresser, and it happened to him as well.
      I never went back again.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist Says:

        LOL. Now that tale has to make me wonder about your brother. For you it was unexpected but he must have gone knowing this was likely to happen. I can’t comment on whether it was cultural as I don’t recall ever having had a haircut with anyone other than a European but it sure would have freaked me out if it had.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, Irene. It does freak. On the other hand; was he just being friendly? We are not a very touchy society. In Bali you see schoolboys arm in arm going to school, the best of buddies.
        The thing though is that, we do in Rome what the Romans do.

        I thought it was a bit rich and over the top. Just imagine the dentist doing that or the veterinarian?

        Liked by 1 person

  7. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Gerard, I hope you are completely well soon. It is no fun to keep company with the ‘flu’ bug. 😦

    As for your hairdresser…ew, that’s icky! 😮 :-/
    But, I really enjoyed how you told the story of your haircut! 😀

    When I lived in California, USA, I helped the homeless close to my house. Giving them water, food, blankets, etc. I took the time to get to know them, and they taught me some important life lessons.

    (((HUGS))) no bugs! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      THe poor girl did her best and after typing in my phone number in their system gave me a discount. I am a regular customer. The total cost was $28.50 or so.
      They have good cutters and dealing with both men and women young and old are very popular.
      Lots of men my age hardly have hair except perhaps a bit at the back just above the collar. They make up for ear and nose hair which they get trimmed. I could never trim those organs, no way.
      Life is difficult enough to worry about nose and ear hair.

      You are a very nice person, Carolyn, to engage with the homeless. I bet you made life more bearable for them.
      My older brother became almost home-less when he developed chronic schizophrenia in his teens. He is under care in Holland and still alive!

      Liked by 1 person

      • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

        I’m so glad your brother is still alive and has care.

        I think given such simple circumstances these days, most anyone could become homeless quicker than we think. So, we must look out for each other and help each other.

        Yes, hair grows out of the funniest places and it’s nice to have hair to need cutting. 🙂

        HUGS!!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. DisandDat Says:

    Yes Gerard you are not wrong about limitless dollars seeking out a few people that may, but usually may not, pose a threat to society. Lots are set free after being falsely arrested. It’s a giant witch hunt. That awful Dutton poly who has no regards for human rights has now been given responsibility for, wait for it, “KEEPING US SAFE” ! There is a greater chance of dying from a bee sting (a pun ?) than from a so called terrorist, usually a home grown person. It’s all to do with the left including Turnbullfile Dutton in power at all costs. Did you see the half man half beetroot face on that right wing pr..k expressing his outrage of him loosing control at the press conference?
    By the way, re: The dual citizen ship issue. Is Australia’s head of state, Elizabeth the 1st., a great long serving Queen, not a Britt. Maybe she has dual citizenship. Should she not resign ?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. gerard oosterman Says:

    It all gets so muddled. Fancy a dual nationality after being born in Canada, yet having Australian parents? I lost my Dutch Nationality after becoming Australian. I did not renounce it. It just happened.

    Even so, the Dutch Government (in its magnanimously social equanimity) still pays a small pension to me for having worked there for a few years. Helvi, my wife, also gets this Dutch pension. Included is a ‘holiday loading’.

    Yet, Australia where we have worked and paid taxes for decades has now cut off the pension. We have savings that caused us to loose this pension.

    How foolish for us to have saved! We warned our children that saving will only result in getting punished. Don’t save…spend, spend and spend more. Borrow to the hilt, use your credit card and spend even what you don’t have…

    Like

  10. auntyuta Says:

    I just remembered, Gerard, when we were kids and came down with a bad cold, our grandmother would send us to bed to ‘sweat’ it out. I think she put some kind of special paper onto our chest to keep the warmth in. We would get some ‘Hustensaft’ that I liked very much. So, dear one, keep yourself extra warm and sweat it all out and only go to the computer when you feel rested enough.
    I love reading your blogs and all the discussions that follow. I hope you soon feel well enough to write another blog. If you’re not any better soon, maybe you should see a doctor?
    Best wishes from me Uta, and also from Peter

    P.S. As I said earlier Peter and I always take Vitamin C tablets with a lot of liquids, especially when we feel we might get a cold. I forgot to mention OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT that can be bought at pharmacies. Sometimes you can even get it at ALDI’s. We believe it is marvellous in keeping you healthy.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Uta.

      I am sweating it out but not in bed. I try lemon and honey. Someone suggested Brussel Sprouts and for the second day running, I had Brussel Sprouts. The appetite is there, so I can’t be all that sick. I am afraid to acknowledge I love the attention, and thank you all for your care and get-well wishes.

      Olive leaf extract will be next to try out.

      Your grandmother’s use of special paper on chests to cure the cold reminds me of our parents stuffing newspapers between our bedding during the war when we had no electricity or fuel to keep us warm during the winters.

      With all those Brussel Sprouts trying to bed down in my stomach, I should be so grateful to have access to so many varieties of food.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. auntyuta Says:

    Glad to hear you still have an appetite, Gerard. We’re going to watch now “Mad as Hell’ on ABC TV. Enjoy all your different food and have a Good Night’s Rest.

    Like

  12. Patti Fogarty Says:

    Snot good Gerard and hope you’re feeling better soon!

    Like

  13. shoreacres Says:

    Oh, my. Here I am, late to the party. Perhaps the good news is that your recovery has been continuing apace, and the honey and lemon and Brussels sprouts and all have done their good work. I had a short period of gentle allergies while our grasses were blooming, but it’s been a good while since I’ve been truly ill. It’s never fun, even in its annoying but not life-threatening forms.

    Your experience with the hair-dresser confirms something I’ve long suspected: that my work on the docks, outdoors and generally isolated from people, has helped me stay healthy. Even if someone who’s frankly ill wanders by, their germs get dispersed and fly away to somewhere else. And of course, as we all know, the doctor’s office is the worst place to go. Whatever the reason for being there, it may well be made worse by the willingness of other patients to share their maladies.

    I enjoyed the references to handkerchiefs, too. We used to always carry them. Some especially pretty ones, with embroidery and lace trim, often were given as gifts. They’d come in fancy boxes, usually in sets of three or four. Sometimes, there would be a set with one for each day of the week. It was a different time, for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      After two weeks the cough is still there. You are right, Linda, the doctor’s waiting room is the worst place and should be avoided at all cost.
      Scientists are working feverishly to find the ultimate flu shot that prevents all flus and colds. I doubt it will happen. Nature is far too smart.
      Australia is hooked on medication, and pharmacies are dispensing over the counter medications that you would not be able to get in most European countries without prescriptions.
      There is a headline news item this morning. “Painkillers kill more people than heroin.”

      Like

  14. vivienne29 Says:

    I’ve bought hankies at Big W and Myer. I prefer to buy big and thick tissues for anyone with a cold. Washing snotty hankies is revolting. I’d actually put them in boiling soapy water and soak and rinse and then wash in machine. Who wants snot in their washing machine? Use tissues for the worst and then a hanky for dabbing dribbles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Snot might not be the worst to end in the washing machine, Viv. Snooping around peoples’ dirty washing baskets might well throw up some nasty surprises. The mind boggles! There are people about with some weird practises of which the results end up in the washing machine.
      I like my hanky and I used to have one poking up from the front pocket of my Pierre Cardin jacket.

      Like

  15. vivienne29 Says:

    If there are worse things in the washing machine then those people probably don’t mind snot, but I do and I’m sure you mind too. Nothing wrong with hankies but I’m sure you don’t have one full of snot poking up from your Pierre Cardin jacket!

    Like

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