The other day, because A) she is awesome and B) she was sick and tired of hearing me complain about how the hairy gorilla look wasn’t working for me, my mother arranged for the girls to get distracted playing t-ball with Dave so she could grab Phoebe and me and drive us to the next town where she dumped me at a salon and took off with Phoebe for approximately one half hour so I could have my hair trimmed and my eyebrows waxed, which was exactly what I needed to feel a little less ho hum.

Thank you, Mom.

I was a bit sheepish going in as I hadn’t been prepared to leave the house and it’s physically impossible for me to feel confident while wearing blue sweatpants in public. And chin hair. Also, spit up stains on the shoulder of my shirt – well, technically, Dave’s shirt that I hijacked because I’ve outgrown most of my own. (Fat bottomed girl!)

I glanced at the clock. Ten ’til eight. “What time do you close?”

“8 p.m.” the girl said as she approached the counter.

I knew this whole professional hair cut thing was too good to be true, but I asked anyway. “Do you have time for a quick cut?”

“Absolutely.”

Aha! I pressed my luck. “And an eyebrow wax?” I raised the furry caterpillars above my eyes.

“Sure. Let’s do that first. Follow me.”

So I did. And she waxed my eyebrows. It took a long time and she had to start with a machete, but we were chatting and it was really pleasant, so I didn’t mind. We talked about our kids which I know makes me a lame morning show topic that ends with advice like, Read a book! Volunteer! Do anything else that might give you something to talk about instead of talking about your kids, you boring loser with no identity! But the thing is, I really like talking about my kids. And I like it when other people talk about their kids. I pretty much like talking with anyone about anything that makes their face look the way this girl’s face looked when she talked about her son. She couldn’t stop smiling. She had love bursting from her pores! And that’s not a euphemism for acne!

It wasn’t until the phone rang that I looked at the clock again. Almost twenty after eight. I pretended to cock my head to admire my new cut, but really, I was just trying to listen to what she was saying on the phone. I’m nosy. I also like to listen to gossip! (Shut yo mouth!)

“…soon. It’ll be soon. I’m not going to turn down a hair cut! I really want to do my best at this job. I’m almost done. Okay. Call you in a minute. Love you. Bye.”

“Sorry,” she said as she returned and switched the hair dryer back on and showered me with affirmations about the appropriateness of my new look.

She really did want to do her job and do it well – I could feel it. Our conversation was peppered with her enthusiasm for it. She’d told me, in passing, that this was her first job out of cosmetology school. “It wouldn’t look very professional if I just pulled my hair up in a pony tail every day. I’m a hair stylist now,” she’d said later. And she was much more caring and kind than most dealers of the $15.95 special.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t find many people who take that much pride and find that much joy in their jobs.

“You know, I think it’s dry enough. And it looks great. I love it,” I said as I stood up. And I hurried myself out of there – she had a little boy waiting at home for her, after all – but not before I gave her twice my usual tip. She deserved it. And it seemed more appropriate than a hug. I really wanted to give her a hug.

Speaking of tips, are you supposed to tip delivery people? I mean, if you pay to have something delivered – like furniture – do you tip them, too, on top of the delivery fee? And what about drive-thrus? Not fast food drive-thrus, but the ones that sell milk and pop and beer and stuff and the person comes out to your car and everything? Do you tip them? Also, on hotels. Do you leave a tip for the people who clean your room if there isn’t a little envelope for it? If you clean hotel rooms, do you assume any money left out is for you? I’m really not clear when it comes to tipping in situations other than a restaurant.

It’d be really great if there was some kind of tip rhyme to help me out, like “Righty tighty, lefty loosey” helps me in screwing and unscrewing situations. Or that other one helps me remember how many days there are in January. Do you know a rhyme like that?