18 June 2009 4:38 pm
Living in the bush has its limitations, to be certain. We have most things in my village of 350, largely due to our hectic tourist trade: a pharmacy, a hospital, doctors, a post office, a hardware store, a garage, great organic food, fine coffee and an excellent hairdresser.
I’m always comforted to hear from my hairdresser that living in a shed is possible with two small children. So what do I need with a toilet, bathroom, kitchen, shower…?
My last trip to the Nimbin hairdresser got me thinking about Peggy’s Salon in Diamond Head in Honolulu, my Mecca on many recent trips to and from Canada.
I can’t wait to get there for my appointment and even though it’s been months or years since my last visit, Peggy, the owner, remembers me. Her tiny decorated dog with a rhinestone collar greets me. The room is full of laughter. And transformation.
Peggy Thompson’s clientele are not necessarily the women who stay at the three-star New Otani Hotel at Kaimana Beach, where she’s located.
They come from a wider group of older women who moved from Canada and the mainland USA to this tropical paradise. Decades ago, many of them.
Sitting in her salon, waiting for my appointment and catching up on the latest antics of the movie stars, I realise I’m witnessing caring on a grand — and intimate scale.
Every woman is precious to Peggy. Every head of hair, however faded, balding, worn, bedraggled, over permed, poorly cut and ill-coloured — deserves and gets her close attention. Every woman who leaves her friendly haven looks beautiful. Every one distinctively different.
Peggy’s not that much younger than her clientele, me included. She knows how to make us look elegant, bright and snazzy.
Peggy always regales us with stories of her trips to Reno and Las Vegas. Lately she’s been on a winning streak.
For every festive occasion (certainly including Easter, Halloween and St Patrick’s Day), the small salon is festooned with decorations.
Halloween and autumn decorations (a season not very evident in tropical Honolulu!) are featured, with turkeys, autumn leaves and pumpkins everywhere.
Green candy is on offer in March.
Over the Christmas season there is barely enough space for the nail polish bottles on counters covered with artificial snow, icicles, candy canes and snowmen. Santa never fails to visit Peggy’s salon.
With global warming, I wonder sadly how many more trips I can make to Peggy’s salon.
Ethically, I mean. Perhaps I could argue (to Gaia?) that I’m making a close anthropological inspection of the qualities of an ethic of caring in practice. One woman. Hundreds of elderly women.
Over twenty years in the business.
Making all of us beautiful and special. Transforming us. Caring for us with the impeccable attention that only a dedicated hairdresser can give.
Peggy and I have talked about this at length. It’s not accidental. She knows exactly what she’s doing. And she was delighted that I’d spotted it.
In Nimbin, our hairdressers have hippies and careworn bush people to care for.
They do that brilliantly and cheer us when the roof blows off and pythons come into our beds. They listen to our tales of woe and commiserate from a place of deep knowing
But for transformation, there’s nobody like Peggy.