Barbering is An Art

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is EMPATHY.

Merriam-Webster has a long-winded definition for this word, while LEXICO puts it simply as “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” The idea is that, even if you haven’t had exactly the same experience, you can picture yourself in their place and get what someone else is feeling.

Reading fellow blogger Biff’s article about his new COVID-style hairdo inspires me to write about my efforts as family barber.

I must tell you that I’ve gained a good deal of empathy for beginning stylists. I now get a sense of how they must feel as a new customer takes his/her place in the chair and they both wonder how this is going to turn out. Even if the barber or stylist has had oodles of practice at styling school, all heads — and hair types — are not created equal.

Haircut.Free.image
Clkr-Free-Vector-Images

A barber is an artist.

There have been times when I waited for dear hubby’s barber to finish his hair cut and I’ve watched the flash of those barber scissors. Skillfully snip-snipping.

And voilà, a perfectly neat haircut. What a talent!

But, as the whole world knows, barber shops and beauty salons are closed these days just like many other businesses. Which is why my husband handed me an old pair of barber shears last month and told me he needed a hair cut. He was not willing to wait another eight weeks or so to see a barber.

I examined the rather rusty scissors – he says he’s had them for thirty years – and wondered if they’d cut anything. The loosely joined blades barely met in the middle. Definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Back in our salad days I did cut his hair, but always used a clipper. However, he’s been going to a barber for almost thirty years and I’ve gotten as rusty as these scissors. A clipper would be handy, but who thought about this? I wonder if hair clippers have sold out by now like hand soaps?

I sighed and began the task at hand and thankfully the tip of the scissors did actually cut. As I snipped away, I drew major consolation from the thought that he won’t be out in public very much these days. And he assured me that if I make a mess, in a couple of weeks no one will see it any more.

Wielding those scissors, I started to feel like Leonardo da Vinci with his chisel, wanting to bring forth the statue of David. The artist in me kicked in and, snip by snip, I sculpted the standard senior gentleman’s haircut. Nowhere near professional, but not so bad.

Yesterday his hair had grown long enough that he wanted a trim, so we had a repeat performance. He has to appear in public today but, as Biff wrote in his article, a lot of folks are looking a little shaggy these days. And who knows how many other wives and partners have been handed scissors and told to “do something with this”?

Yes, I managed. But, believe me, I’ll be there cheering when the barbers open their doors for business again.

Smoother Spelling

Good morning everyone,

Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt word is SMOOTH — an excellent, versatile word.

My dictionary claims this comes from the Old English smōth. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems English is the only language with a unique TH sound. And yet more, we’re blessed with two. Consider the SMOOTH TOOTH, for example. Do you have ny idea how much anguish these two sounds give ESL students?

It may have been much handier for learners — and certainly for spellers — had the ancients decided on separate spellings. FTH or THF for the one blown out and TH for the other — as in “this, that and the other” — which would make ‘tooth’ spelled toofth. Youngsters and people with missing teeth are apt to say “toof” anyway, and “fink” instead of think.

Back to things that are SMOOTH:
Once upon a time I took up the hobby of painting on rocks. Just bugs and such, as I don’t have access to the huge, smooth stones such as people by the ocean can find. With less than perfect stones you can use putty to fill in the dips and bumps, but rocks need to be tumbled in water for years, maybe even centuries, to polish them to a smooth roundness.

Beech & stone.Wokandapix
Art by Wokandapix  —  Pixabay

Along the Saskatchewan River, not so very far from us, there are rocks embedded in the soil on the hillsides, but the ones I see are chunky. Right here where we live the soil is classed as dune sand, a once-upon-a-time flood plain. You can dig down ten meters and rarely find a stone of any size. All this sand is great for purifying the rain-water that soaks in.

The water table is high, only about two metres down; the original settlers in this area dug their wells with a shovel. Now one enterprising young man has a high pressure water “drill” and drills holes for posts by washing out the sand and dirt mix. Talk about a smooth operation.

That Elusive Picture

Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt is PAREIDIOLIA, the gift of picturing some design in ink squiggles, random dots, wallpaper flowers, clouds and such.

Or, as the Oxford Dictionary says:
The perception of apparently significant patterns or recognizable images, especially faces, in random or accidental arrangements of shapes and lines.

This word comes from the German Pareidolien, descended from the Greek combo of para, beside or adjacent to, plus eidōlon, an image.

Here’s my little Paint3D-crafted example. However, if you’re one of those who can’t see the colour green, this will make no sense. (Image by JeonSang-O — Pixabay.) What picture can you imagine in this field of clover?

Clover.JeanSan-O
Clover.JeanSan-O

A True-Blue Blonde

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was EGGPLANT

I will confess my ignorance: I never heard of eggplants until I was an adult, buying my own groceries and cooking my own meals. One recipe book that came along with my husband was The Chatelaine Cookbook; one day I was looking through it and noticed a recipe called Father Fainted. This was an eggplant, tomato & herbs dish that apparently so impressed the writer’s father that she gave it this unusual name.

To peel or not to peel, that is the question. I’ve never pursued the art of creating eggplant dishes because I’m never sure how to peel the things—or don’t you? And since they’re quite bland with no enticing flavour of their own, I pass them by.

When I hear the word EGGPLANT, I rather tend to think of the French word AUBERGINE, which is used quite a bit in England, I gather. And in French an AUBERGE is an inn. I’m not sure just what the connection is there; maybe that’s what guests were fed when they stayed at roadside inns circa 1500?

Then I think of the colour AUBERGINE: “a dark grayish or blackish purple,” according to Merriam-Webster. Which brings me to this tongue-in-cheek verse, a senryu:

cheerful blonde seller
of produce
at roadside stand
aubergine roots

😉

Works of Art

Good morning everyone,

Another spring-like day is beginning here on the prairie, with a fair wind from the south that should melt a lot of our snow. Our temps will drop again this week, they say, but this little break has been enjoyable.

Our Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is MASTERPIECE This brings to mind the old saying, “Different strokes for different folks.”

Here are some images from Pixabay, things I’d call lovely works of art.

Painting.UlrikeMai
Ulrike Mai
Russian dolls
Igor Drondin
Girl.Art.cdd20
cdd20
Pink Cake.Terri Cnuddle
Terri Cnudde
Chocolate.Daria Yakovleva
Daria Yakovleva