Our roving reporter writes:
“Due to the COVID virus, hordes of people are no longer visiting the zoo. Management has done a number of LAYOFFS to cut back expenses during this time. The monkeys, they say, are bored stiff with no one to entertain, whereas being unemployed seems to suit some creatures quite well.”
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.
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.
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.
At 7:30 last night I was just finishing up my shift at the Villa, the seniors’ residence where I cook a few meals every week. My husband, who was waiting for me to finish my work, asked if I could hear a siren. He’d already alerted the residents that something unusual was going on outside, so they were all watching from the large picture window that faces the car port.
We saw a Fire Department vehicle, sirens blaring and lights flashing, drove into the Villa parking lot. A moment later we had the opportunity to witness first-hand a Drive-By Shouting.* We were forewarned that this would happen, but it was to be a surprise for the residents.
Two of our seniors had birthdays yesterday; Melvin turned 86 and Wilbert 91, so their families, together with the Villa board arranged this birthday party on wheels. Wilbert’s great-grandson and a friend drove up to the carport in a sort of dune buggy with flashing lights; they jumped off and fastened a large banner between two pillars on the outside of the carport, facing the picture window. “Happy Birthday Melvin & Wilbert,” it read.
Then they led a long procession through the carport, the two men’s families, Villa Board member and a number of others from the congregation. Our guess is at least twenty vehicles passed through our carport, with passengers honking and waving — much to the delight of the two “birthday boys.” Many vehicles were decorated with signs and balloons; in the back of one pickup two young people held up a large plywood sheet with Happy Birthday painted on it.
As they say, “A good time was had by all.”
Actually, we later heard that the local Fire Department had been involved in an earlier drive-by shouting, together with friends and family, for a Mrs Smith who turned 95 yesterday.
*I don’t know how widely used this term is, but a Moose Jaw reporter recently wrote about “the increase in drive-by shoutings” in that city, so I’m borrowing it. When folks are supposed to be self-isolating, they find creative ways of interacting. And there’s no ban on drive-bys.
I’m happy to say that our residents — and most residents of seniors’ & nursing homes in the province — have escaped the virus thus far. The stats I’ve heard today for Saskatchewan are: 301 diagnosed with Covid-19; 187 recovered; 4 deaths. So we’ve much reason to be thankful to date.