October 2, 2018
Slipping into the seat Jessica’s first question is whether I am a ‘number 2’ or a ‘number 3’. She refers of course to which attachment I would like run over my head. Always a number 3.
“So how are you, Jessica?” I address her in the strange manner people address those cutting their hair: through the large, unflattering mirror screwed into the wall, my neck suddenly locked up for fear of admonishment should it shift even an inch.
I’d say that she’s only 26 years old and from earlier conversations I know that she has two daughters and a partner. Her life is so different to mine (and my twin millennials of delight in London and Manchester). I do admire her ability to cope with a low wage, a family and run a home. Down to earth, phlegmatic and ‘just getting on with it’ is more than a fair analysis of Jessica.
“Well it was going alright until my daughter had to go to A & E at the weekend.”
Not really the opening I expected. I thought I’d get complaints of a slow day, a change in shift pattern due to absences at the salon or maybe a saga of repeated calls to Vodaphone to resolve a mobile phone contract. “What happened?”
“Well I was taking my mother and grandma for afternoon tea in Strensall when I got a call that she’d cut her chin at her aunt’s house. So I picked her up and off we went to hospital.”
“Cut her chin?”
“She cut her chin on some chicken wire. This wire is at the bottom of my aunt’s garden. She was playing with her cousins, who are older and little twats. They unlocked a gate in a fence that they were told not to go through. She’s such a goody goody that she wouldn’t but she looked through a gap and caught her chin on the wire. Off we went to A & E and spent three hours there”.
She displayed no outrage at this detour. (I wondered whether she had simply kicked into the caring mother mode where your time and priorities immediately switch or whether this was a typical weekend). I was concerned as this was distressing for anyone let alone a small child.
“They see you quickly to assess the injury and then you have to wait for the doctor? Was she bleeding heavily?”
“Yes, they gave us some bandages to stop the bleeding. When it was her turn they wanted to stitch it there and then. But she screams at the sight of blood and I wasn’t letting them give her a local anaesthetic.”
“Even worse was that my partner was in the hospital. Eddie was in another ward on a drip. So I was fucking about between both of them and that was why she was with her aunt rather than him”.
Eddie on a drip? This was a whole new storyline. Awful news, poor chap! However, I avoid exploring this interesting sub-plot.
(I’ve been known to swear (cough). So I’m not particularly offended but I worry that this is part of her everyday lexicon with all those who come into her life – including casual acquaintances plonked in her ‘office’).
“So what happened with her chin?”
“Six stitches, they did a very tidy job. She had to go back on Sunday morning for a general anaesthetic. That meant waiting fucking hours. After the five minute operation she was left for an hour and a quarter to come round.”
“Gosh, that made a mess of the weekend.”
There was a small time gap whilst she attended to my scalp and then stepping back said:
“That wasn’t the end of it.”
“My sister in law. Err… well Eddie and myself are not married but you know what I mean. She keeps sending fucking texts that wind me up. This time she’s off on one about my looking after the kids. So I’ve had a right weekend and I’m sick of her with all this. So I decided to drop a bomb.”
“I told her that her partner had been sleeping with her best friend for the last two years.”
“Whoa” (Sinks lower in chair). I’ve been generous to Jessica, up to a point, with my description of her lot but you now start to get a closer a look at the mayhem that seeps into her and her family’s life. All these episodes make them more dysfunctional. Or maybe she’s just letting you know the stuff others keep secret?
“How did that go down?”
“Well everyone knows that I don’t give a fuck and say what I think about ‘owt.”
Well quite, I was starting to get a clear picture of her take on most things. “That’ll take a while before you’re speaking to each other again!”
“It got worse.”
She must be winding me up now knowing that I write a blog. This is comedy gold.
“The police contacted me. She contacted them to say I was committing slander.”
Ah, the bar room lawyer in me now takes over. I might know something about this after other contretemps I’ve been in. “Oh, that’s going nowhere. You’ve got to prove injury”
“Yeah, well the police had to make the call and we agreed that anyone on Facebook would be breaking the law if they looked at it for slander (libel).”
Unfortunately at this point my haircut was complete and I had no time for the story to continue. I gave her a couple of pounds tip as it was the least I could do.
(Thanks again to Matt for his review, editing and additions)