Though this entry was inspired by Slag's recent brilliant piece "FISA: The Mullet of Compromises," this really did happen today.
I had an appointment with the only person that I have trusted for years to cut my hair. For some reason, almost every other person who has ever taken a sharp instrument to my head has had a compulsion to cut layers, even though I have insisted otherwise. So many times have I ended up looking like a Dr. Seuss character on this account, I tend to forgo haircuts altogether if I cannot get them from her. Because I trust her instincts so much, I'll often just ask her do whatever she thinks will look nice because I have little sense of style and trust her judgment. No worries, ever.
Today I wanted this haircut exactly:
And I almost had it.
Except...just as I saw that she, the stylist, had, as usual, perfectly emulated the cut, and all that was left was some loose snippets and the blow drying, I realized that she had been unusually quiet and seemed stressed.
Here is the conversation that followed:
AF: How's your son?It was at this point that I realized the razor had continued to fly rapidly through my hair throughout this conversation, and for that reason I no longer have the haircut above but rather very, very little hair. Very little.
HS: (Deep sigh.) Well, did I tell you we were paying over $6000/year to send him to ___ [private school]?
AF: Yeah, how's that going?
HS: Well they say they want him on medication because he has behavior problems and that if he's not on medication then he'll be on "behavioral probation," and so I want to take him out, but I already paid next year's tuition, and they say it's nonrefundable. And I would take him out anyway, but there is only one public school in our area, and it's a charter school, and I can't get him in.
AF: (Struggling to choose only one of these outrages to focus on)--Medication for behavioral problems? But he's four, right?
HS: He's four, going on five.
AF: Does he have behavioral problems??
HS: I don't think so, and nobody else does, either, but they say at the school he's probably ADHD. Well, his last teacher says that, and so they're acting on what she says. His teacher from the first of the year told me not to listen to them, that he was fine in her class. He has a lot of energy.
AF: Aren't four-year-olds supposed to have a lot of energy?
HS: See, that's what I think, too. I took him to the pediatrician the other day, and she said that she couldn't tell and that he's too young to be accurately tested for anything like that. So she said she could just prescribe the medication anyway.
AF: (Restraining myself)--What do you think?
HS: I don't see why the doctor would prescribe medicine for something that he can't even be tested for to begin with. I think the problem is with the school so I want to take him out, but I've already given them $5000 and we couldn't even afford that, and they just won't give it back. And if he goes back on "probation" and they expel him, then the tuition is still not refundable. We can't afford to send him somewhere else, I'd have to pay some other school more money, so I don't know what to do right now.
AF: (Tirade, support of her conclusions, sympathy.)
I really don't care about the haircut. That's not the point. I do care about about this young woman, whom I've known for a decade, and her son, and the vicious, blind, profit-driven systems that nobody, anywhere, should be subjected to, ever.
If any of you know what she might tell the school to get her money back or have any other related advice, please tell me, and I will pass it on.