Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Heaven is a place where hair doesn't need cutting

On a scale of one to ten of my comfort level in certain situations (1 being sitting in a small group of close friends and family and 10 being standing on stage making a presentation about something I know nothing about in front of hundreds of people who hate me), walking into a Polish doctor's or hairdresser's and negotiating the situation on my own ranks pretty high.

I'd say a seven. OK, maybe just a six, but it's not on my list of things I have to do before I die, and yet I did both today.

The doctor's was fine. I remembered all the vital words and I had the safety net that she spoke English if my vocab gave out and my mind went blank. It was all quite straightforward and I came out with a minor sense of achievement.

The hairdresser's was more tricky. I have my hair cut about twice a year and I have a really hard time understanding those people who go once a week, or even more often. I put it off until the last moment and, if possible, go somewhere where they speak a language I feel comfortable communicating in (last time my hair was cut was in the States in May. I'm not exaggerating.)

Staring at myself in a (usually incredibly unflattering) mirror while a complete stranger chops away at my limp wet hair in front of a huge window that random shoppers look into regularly, is not my idea of a good time. I feel relatively confident with Polish now but when you have no idea how to explain your ideal haircut and you weren't organised enough to learn the Polish for layers or fringe, the fun rating comes down another couple of notches.

The hairdresser herself was fine. She looked about 17 and was obviously not in the mood for conversation, but she was fine. She cut it, and I said 'yes' and 'ok' in all the right places. Of course, I had this mental image of a bubbly confident me chatting away, filling in the missing vocab with hand gestures and smiles, but in fact I just turned red every time she asked me a question and stuttered out my pre-prepared phrases as best I could. The cut is nothing special. Still, I've made more progress in my personal 'practical Polish' language course.

Next in line is dinner with Marek's family this evening, as I'm leaving in a couple of days and will miss out on the Polish Christmas experience. That's fine though; well within my comfort zone.

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Anonymous Kinuk said...

I don't do well in doctor's offices in Poland. For some reason, their bedside manner actually intimidates me and I clam up.

As for hairdressers...I'm not keen on them in either language. They always tut about my hair care products and what I use. I absolutely LOVE it when they don't talk to me. It leaves me free to get on with my book or the gossip mags they've got lying around. Yours sounds devine on my scale!

Congrats on making further progress with your Polish, by the way! I remain convinced that it is not a language that anybody should have to learn. Looks so very painful.

8:17 pm  
Anonymous gs said...

I like the old Enoch Powell story. "And how would you like your hair cutting?" his hairdresser had the temerity to ask. "In silence" he snorted.

9:52 pm  

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