Milan was the only male worker in the hair salon into which I had wandered. When asking about the chance of getting a haircut without having an appointment, the carefully coiffed pensioners (both beauticians and patrons) all looked at him. One stylist, with a hint of a doubt in her voice, said, “Milan can help you”. Milan hesitantly stepped forward, looking anything but confident. Despite being in his late 60s I wondered whether he had been cutting hair for long. Perhaps he took it up after retiring to keep busy and earn some supplemental income. Whatever, how bad could it be?
Haircuts for me are often a leap of faith. I often too busy to have the same person cut my hair twice in a row. So each time I need to explain about the ‘cowlick’ above my forehead, how much should be left over the ears and whether the back should be blocked or tapered. I remove my glasses. Then I tell him or her about the need to remove my hearing aids for fear of them being shampooed, sprayed or snipped accidentally. Once extracted from my ears I am left in silence like a deaf and blind lamb to be sheared. Add to that my Parkinson’s tremour and it is easy to understand why I wait two months between haircuts.
Despite Milan’s unorthodox style of snipping, his other moves seemed generally what I expected. That is except for one thing. He held his right hand awkwardly and moved it slowly to catch up with his left hand, which he used for cutting. At first I chalked it up to his age, or maybe arthritis, but as he continued, and I squinted to see better, I noticed a slight tremour in his right hand whenever he tried to hold it still. Suddenly, it all became clear as I recognized the all-too-familiar movements and counter-movements. Milan, like me, had Parkinson’s disease.
And the haircut? Well, it will grow out.