Quite a title. IKR. Just hold on. I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds. How do you deal with your hair?
As I go about my business, I spot Charlo outside his modest office. Charlo runs a business that deals with clearing and forwarding which he has operated since I was about 5 or 6 years old. What kind of clearing? Hold that thought. We’ll come back to it in a short while.
I say hi to him and he tells me ‘Umenitupa sana mtu wangu.’ In response, I make circular motions with my index finger pointing to the ground followed by a thumbs up to tell him that I will pass by his office later. He understands and nods in agreement with a smile. I go about my business for the day and completely forget about Charlo.
1 week later. The time is 6.45 p.m. as the sun is dawning. Darkness is crippling. Mutura vendors are setting in to kick start their business. I am tempted to buy a piece but it seems that none is cosmetically appealing to my blobs in the nature of my eyes. I digress.
From a distance, I see Charlo’s base of operation. Instinctively, I touch my hair and realize that it could use some trimming. I peep through and can see that there is only one person in line waiting for my preferred barber. Reggae music is blasting. There are 3 barbers and each has his own clientele. Upon setting sight on my skinny self, he points to the different newspapers on one of the top shelves. He knows my preference. He is aware that I dislike politics and thus I can’t join in the conversation being advanced by other customers waiting for their turns.
As I am deeply engrossed in the newspaper’s auction pages and trying to analyze how bad our economy is, I feel a tap on my shoulder and a voice tells me that it is my turn. I sit on the somehow squeaky seat which seems to cleak on my weight. I look up to see the chart on the wall with photos of different hairstyles and I am tempted to ask him whether he has ever tried some of those styles to which he laughs. A pale blue sheet is wrapped around my neck covering my clothes. At this point, I close my eyes and I can hear him preparing his tools of trade. ‘Zzzzzzz’ the sound of the shaving machine. ‘Kawaida?’ he asks. I nod my head in agreement. The vibration of this machine on my skin is pure bliss as he now skillfully goes ahead to work his magic on my hair.
My barber now gets to do what he does best. He engages me in a conversation, ‘Ndevu tunyoe ama tuwache?’ I laugh and ignore it. He is trying to provoke me but in a friendly way since my face is dorned with just two strands of hair scattered on my chin fighting really hard to be identified as beard. Maybe one of these days, I will be a member of the infamous beard gang who were recently described as being too broke to afford shaving money. I change the topic and ask him a question of something that had bothered me but I do it in a subtle manner. The barbershop is my safe haven of sorts.
About 10 minutes later, he switches off the machine. I then feel a hot towel on my head. I am now aware that he is done. Methylated spirit is applied before an assortment of other ointments are also applied on my head. The sheet wrapped around my neck is removed and the hair on it is blown away. I open my eyes and look in the mirror. He has done a fantastic job and I smile in contentment before he jokingly comments, ‘Sasa unaona vile unakaa, kazi itakuwa tu kuwapea mimba.’ I laugh as I hand out a Kshs. 100 note and he gives me Ksh. 30 as change. ‘We tutaongea.’ I say as I leave. Till next time, happy reading. As I head out, I have a glance at a guy who is having his hair dyed brown and I’m like, ‘Wow!’
Oh, one more thing, remember Charlo who runs a clearing business? Well, Charlo is my barber. The clearing business? I guess by now you have already figured it out. Charlo clears hair and forwards it to the waste or wherever. To the ladies, I would really love to read a female version of hair day or something close to that. Is it planned or spontaneous? After how long do you visit your salonist and how long does the session last? How expensive is it? Loyalty to salon or salonist? and many such. If you can write this please hit me up on Whatsapp (+254)0704452436 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org