memory: hair salon in Finsbury Park

Today, I find myself thinking about my time in London and my friend’s hairdresser.

Actually, she is a friend-quaintance. I feel like we could be friendlier with each other, but we’ve never actually hung out together. She comments on my Instagram posts and I comment on hers, and we have a mutual respect because we’re of the same ethnic background (same country, different tribes). But still, we could be closer.

In any case, her hairdresser.

I will call her M. She was a really lovely lady who worked out of a salon. It was my first time being in a salon — most hairdressers I’ve known, the really good ones, tend to operate out of their basements or something. My hairdresser at home does. I liked this salon experience, though I felt a bit exposed because my hair was doing the most.

In any case, her hairdresser, M.

She had lupus, I believe, and so had short, thin hair she coloured red. But she spoke really fondly of the days her hair was long and thick; how much she loved styling it and colouring it. She said lupus was a bitch but she wasn’t done living yet. She also said that my life was at a crucial moment.

“You’re young,” she told me, while she conditioned and wrapped my hair. “You know your have your whole life ahead of you? Now’s the time to do reckless things, all the reckless things.”

I told her I wasn’t reckless, but I had quit my stable job to do fuck all in London, and she was happy. “Good,” she said. “That’s good.”

She told me she spent three months living in Thailand and it was the best time of her life. She was worried about adapting to the culture, the customs, the people, the language — but she found it didn’t matter once she got there. She didn’t resist the environment and it welcomed her. “That’s the only way to travel, you know? Embrace, don’t resist.”

I told her when I moved to London, I didn’t have any sort of real plan. Was I a planner, she asked. No, I said. I mean, I was — I am — but my plans are always vague. I’d never had a five-year plan and after I graduated university, I had a fleeting idea of what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. But nothing concrete. Hence, London.

“We get so stuck in the routine,” she said. She said ‘we’ like it was just a you and me thing; that we were sharing in some sort of solidarity. She knew me already. “But what’s routine anyway? It doesn’t help. It doesn’t make things better. It only constricts.”

“Some people need routine,” I said. “need routine sometimes.”

“Well then have your routine,” she told me, “but don’t forget to have fun too.”

I wouldn’t. I told her I would schedule it in and she laughed.

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