Monday, May 02, 2005


Theoretically-speaking, there are two kinds of barbers in Spain—those that talk a lot, and those that don’t. The reason that I say “theoretically” is because there are, in fact, no barbers in Spain that fall into the latter category.

But it gets more complicated still. Within the former category, there are two subgroups—those barbers that actually cut hair while talking, and those that don’t.

Sonia—who is my barber—don’t.

I go to Sonia for a hairtalk—I mean, a haircut—every four to six weeks, and each lasts at least thirty minutes. Now, this may not seem like an excessive amount of time for a haircut—until you realize that I only have about four hairs on my head.

Mind you, I certainly wouldn’t mind a little chit-chat in the barber’s chair—and in fact, it would be most beneficial for my abysmal language skills—if each sentence were punctuated by the sound of snip, snip, snip. But alas, punctuation isn’t her strong suit. And no matter how fidgety, dour or fatalistic I try to appear, it makes no difference. If Sal won’t talk to Sonia, then the lady on the left will. And the lady on the right. And the lady who just walked in the door. And the lady who has just called on the telephone. And the lady who has not just called on the telephone, because Sonia took the initiative to call her first.

I had my hair cut this morning, and arrived at Sonia’s ready for research. Tucked stealthily under my shirt were a pad, pencil and calculator—and yes, that *was* a slide-rule in my pants. I took diligent notes and, having just finished analyzing the data, hereby report that this morning’s haircut yielded one snip of the scissors for every 27 verbs, 14 predicates and 6.7 reflexive pronouns. If that’s not statistically significant, then I don’t know what is.

My wife says that I’m being an ass, and that I shouldn’t let any of this bother me. It is, after all, a “cultural thing.” We Americans put a high value on time, and are loathe to waste it. In this respect, we are like the Germans—except with much better taste in eyeglasses. But the Spanish, true to the stereotype, are a mañana, mañana, mañana culture—and no amount of pleading on behalf of an asymmetrical set of sideburns is likely to change that.

But after spending far too much time thinking about this (and on a vacation day, no less!), I’ve concluded that—perhaps for the first time ever—my wife may be wrong. Perhaps the reason behind the endless Spanish haircut is not a cultural one, but rather a business one. And a brilliant business one, at that!

Just think about it. By the time Sonia finishes my haircut, I’m in need of another.
Posted by Hello


At 9:00 PM, Blogger Culinary Fool said...

Oh my gosh, Sal! You have me laughing my head off again!

I am the complete opposite of you, though. I only see my hair stylist about every three months and so I enjoy the catching up part of the visit. And, at the prices I pay, to basically just have an inch or two taken off the bottom I want that appointment to last as long as possible! :-) I'm trying to get something for my money!!

As always, The Fool

PS Are you perhaps on vacation because your family is in town to celebrate your birthday??

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Hey CuFo!

The Madrid-area had a four-day weekend, in celebration of the most Commie of holidays--May Day. My parents arrive late next week and my birthday is (ahem, ahem) May 13. Yep, that's Friday the 13th.

I took advantage of the long weekend by buying seventeen (that 17!) basil plants that, by some stroke of lucky or miracle, the local nursery had. I figured that out of seventeen plants, at least ONE will live. haircuts cost 7 Euros--which seems a pittance, until you do the necessary division. That's almost 2 Euros per hair.

Best regards to the Mariners, and those envy-inducing Thai Basil plants sprouting on your back deck.

Till soon.

At 5:43 PM, Blogger Culinary Fool said...

You are going to have basil coming out your ears! :-) Make sure the blender/food processor is in order and get the pesto recipe out - I see a freezing frenzy in your future!

~ B

At 1:32 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence, but you underestimate my capacity to kill otherwise healthy plants.

You, Culinary Fool, may have a green thumb. But I have an orange thumb.

Agent Orange, that is.


Post a Comment

<< Home