I’m engaged in a territory dispute here in the Kingdom, in an unlikely place with an even more unlikely opponent. But my will is strong, and I will not be bullied into backing down.
I’ve seen many doctors over the past decade for my spine, liver and migraine problems. Most of my physicians have been nothing but wonderful, but I didn’t get along so well with one particular doctor several years ago. He seemed to view me as a medical chart, not a real person. After I experienced a complication that Bill and I thought was serious enough to warrant a visit to the ER, and that Dr. X apparently felt was minor enough that he could wait a few days before returning our frantic calls, I changed doctors. (That medical problem has now been successfully resolved.)
A while ago, I went to Athena Salon for an appointment with Teppie, my funky hairstylist, to color my hair and get it cut. She wasn’t quite finished with the client before me, and as I drew closer I saw that the person draped in the turquoise cape was Dr. X. It had been several years since I had last seen him.
I shuddered, and then I remembered my manners.
“Dr. X, is that you under that smock?” I asked sweetly.
“Yes,” he said, surprised. Perhaps he didn’t recognize me, but I couldn’t blame him. The last time I’d seen him I’d probably been a blonde or a redhead.
“Oh, you know Dr. X?” Teppie asked, looking at me strangely.
“I sure do,” I said. “We go way back.”
Dr X was sitting stiffly in the chair with a pained expression on his face. I bent down to his level. “It’s me, Anne Glamore,” I said. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen you.”
“Yes,” he said gruffly.
I made a couple of attempts at small talk but he was having none of it. When Teppie finished cutting his hair, she removed the blue drape and he was out of the chair in a flash.
I put on a purple cape and sat down in Teppie’s chair, which was still warm from Dr. X’s butt.
“Whoa, he’s a hard nut to crack,” Teppie said. “I tried to get him to talk, but I got nothing. He didn’t seem very happy to see you, did he?”
I told her he probably didn’t consider me his most successful patient, and then she and I got busy discussing my new look.
Later that day, my phone rang. It was Teppie.
“You’re not going to believe this,” she said. “After Dr. X left the salon, he had his wife call the shop. She told the receptionist that her husband got a haircut today, and that his stylist had a client named Anne Glamore who came in after him. She asked the receptionist to make sure that you were never scheduled for his day again, because it made for “an uncomfortable situation.”
“Ha ha,” I said. “Why are you really calling?”
“I’m not kidding,” Teppie said. “He really had his wife call and ask that you two be kept apart. Apparently seeing you made him uncomfortable.”
“You’re joking,” I said. “I was extremely polite to him. He was the one who would barely talk to anyone.”
“I know! The whole salon saw you trying to talk to him and him practically running away. We’ve been hooting over it ever since.”
“Wow, I had no idea I was so intimidating,” I commented.
“Yeah, you’re real scary,” Teppie said sarcastically.
I forgot about it until several weeks later, when I called Athena to make an appointment.
“How about Friday morning?” I asked.
“Well, that’s when Dr. X is coming,” the receptionist said. “Can you do Thursday?”
“Sure,” I agreed, and I hung up.
Then I started thinking. Athena had just scheduled me on Thursday to accommodate Dr. X’s outlandish request! I tried to give Dr. X the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he believed I was equally ill at ease at seeing him, and that this arrangement would spare both our feelings.
If so, he clearly misunderstood the situation. When I
thought his medical care was unsatisfactory, I replaced him with
another physician within the week. Teppie, however, is irreplaceable. If Dr. X was serious about his desire to avoid me, I could think of a number of reasons that he should just find himself another salon.
First, I’ve been going to Athena for a long time, certainly longer than Dr. X. It was the first grown up salon my mom ever took me to. If someone’s going to stake a claim to Athena, my right would
clearly be superior to his, simply because I have established a pattern
and practice of going there since the Bicentennial, twenty years before
Dr. X ever moved to town. I even got my Farrah Fawcett haircut there. (I looked so sexy, if you could overlook my braces, glasses and back brace and just focus on my hairsprayed wings and my legs.)
I see my friends there, and my mother’s friends there. I know everyone in the shop. It’s like my second home, without the laundry.
Second, to put it nicely, Dr. X is of an age where he just doesn’t have that much hair. Teppie’s gotten rid of his comb over, and now it’s just a matter of maintenance. Anyone in town could do that. He doesn’t need to see Teppie for a trim. In contrast, my hair is my thing, and Teppie and I embark on great adventures with it together. I can’t just go anywhere for golden brown with chunks of blonde color, or for a cut called the “faux-hawk” that Teppie learned in Atlanta.
I wondered about Dr. X’s inability to handle uncomfortable situations. If my presence freaked him out so much, did I have a duty to call his wife and let her know my daily activities so she could make sure her husband wasn’t going to run into me and become nervous?
I could picture myself calling and saying, “Hello, it’s Anne Glamore. I just thought I’d let you know that I’m going to be eating lunch out at Brio today, which is very unusual for me, so you might want to give your husband a heads up on that in case he was planning on going there today. Then I’m running by Publix and the dry cleaners, and I may get gas and go to the fish store if I have time. I should be done with all that by 4:30, though, so if you need him to pick you up some swordfish, he could go by around 5:00 and I should be out of his way.”
If Dr. X thinks he’s going to drive me out of Athena, he’s going to have to get ready for a fight, because I must stay true to my roots, if not my natural color.