|Isn't this just too adorable for words?|
I had a wonderful evening last night, I got to spend almost 3 hours with my girls being pampered, we all went to see Pen, she is probably my most favorite beautician ever! She takes her time, isn't rushed and is so friendly. I know it will be a few hours when I go to Pen's, but I also know I will feel wonderful when I leave. My hair will look beautiful, in that way that you personally can not duplicate and love because it's so perfect.
It's a relaxed kind of space where she offers up ice water and coffee while you sit and laugh together. She was the first one to talk me out of cutting off my long and unruly hair a few years back after my rebellion of not cutting it for almost 2 years. When I decided to finally dye it again, after way, way too many years she helped me pick a color that was closest to my natural one (conferring with hubby because he had to like it too). I have more gray than brown now, but it is still transitioning, I'm okay with premature gray hair, but not such a fan of the middle stage - ewwww....
During all of these years she has smiled, laughed, remembered all our conversations, shared happy times and sad times. Both her's and mine. Once the discussion led to hubby and I discovering Pad Thai and how much we loved it, about a week later I got a call asking me to come by the shop at ten when she got in, that wonderful little woman made us Pad Thai for lunch. She is from Thailand and if she weren't a beautician she would be a cook. Those are her passions! She has offered to teach me to cook it, but I would need a gas stove and I think buying a new stove just to make a dish might be a bit crazier than even I am.
Somewhere in the past couple of years she started doing my girls hair too. She lets my little grand daughter make her own decisions about her hair, even giving her the orange highlights she desperately wanted (with mom's permission of course). She does not talk down to my little one, she treats her like a mini-adult with respect and compassion. She understands my daughters inability to sit still for long and gives her ample breaks to wander around while she is in the process of getting her hair done.
She is talking about closing her little shop, the cost to keep it open is too much. Our city doesn't seem to be very conducive to small businesses, so many come and go. I am sure that it isn't just our city, there are so many locally that seem to have revolving signs on the door. Most of the time they are up for lease, vacant and lonely. It's a sad commentary.
I don't like the big box stores, they are all about the numbers, how fast and how many can I get through the door. They have time limits. I know this, because I met Pen at one of those places just before she opened her own shop. I was still in that rebellious phase, but needed split ends trimmed off, I was looking rather frightening and a ponytail holder was my best friend. As luck would have it, I drew her. We chatted while she cheerfully trimmed my hair, she mentioned that she was opening her own salon, and where it would be located. I had a very hard time understanding her, her accent was thick and she was talking softly. About six months later, driving down the road by my house I saw the sign. She is within walking distance of my house and I have never gone anywhere else.
Pen dreams of going home to Thailand, for me that will be a very sad day, although she has told me I can come and visit. I can handle her closing her shop, she has told hubby and I that she will still do my hair in her basement shop that she is creating. And that after doing hair we will gather together for Pad Thai. Pen and I have had amazing conversations, I have learned all about Thailand, that she is Budda and what that means, she has taken the time to help me learn so much about her beliefs, culture and home.
I love the bond that her and I have. I love that when hubby calls, she absolutely adores him and wants me to clone him, to get an appointment she will stay open super late (just for us) to take me and my girls. Because she knows what kind of crazy schedule I have. Or when my sister came home and wanted her hair done by my beautician before heading home, because she does such a great job, that she was willing to change her schedule to make it happen.
That is what is lacking in those big box stores, you simply have no control. Sally might do a great job and Susan not, and who knows who you get the third time. They don't know things like the way your cowlick likes to lay or the color of dye you use. It is just a revolving door.
I think that is what is missing across the board in our hurry, hurry, I need more American society. That precious bond between people, that connection. Me and my girls need our Pen! I appreciate her so much, and I know that they do too!