Ladies, if ever you find yourself travelling alone on a business trip, remember one important thing:
Keep the hair styling to a minimum.
Not too long ago, on a bright and beautiful day, I was at home when the doorbell rang.
I opened the door and in front of me stood a lady I didn’t recognise. She wasn’t one of the neighbours. She was a stranger. She had a frantic, panicked look in her eyes.
There was something jutting out of her hair; a wooden handle.
I looked again.
It was a hairbrush.
There was a hairbrush stuck in her hair.
A million different things were running through my mind. Who is this woman? Why is she running around with a brush stuck in her hair? Is she dangerous? Is she deranged? How did she get into this building?!? What does she want with me? Should I call the police?
Calm down, I told myself. If she attacks you, use the Krav Maga moves you learnt. Then scream till the neighbours come out.
“Hello?” I said, cautiously.
“Hello.” She said. “Do you speak English?”
I tried very hard to keep my eyes from drifting to her hair.
Don’t be rude, I scolded myself. Act normal.
“Oh thank God. I’m actually renting the unit upstairs for a few days. I have a problem… do you think you could help?”
Don’t stare at her hair. Don’t. Stare.
“I somehow managed to get my hair all tangled up in this brush and I’ve tried everything to get it out… nothing’s working. I tried washing it again and putting conditioner… did I make it worse? Do you know how to untangle it?”
Oh thank heavens. She’s not deranged after all.
“Oh gosh. I’m not sure myself…”
I had a closer look. It was a right tangled mess.
“… maybe you could try oil?”
“Oil? You mean like cooking oil?”
“Well, no… not cooking oil, but maybe I can find something similar. Tell you what, give me a few minutes and I’ll go upstairs and help.”
So I did a quick Google search on how to untangle a brush from your hair, grabbed a bottle of argan oil and a rattail comb, and scurried upstairs to the help the dame in distress.
Alas, her hair was so wound up around the barrel of the brush that no amount of oil could have possibly helped. In the end I had to cut all the bristles – effectively cutting the brush out from her hair.
The entire process took more than an hour, during which we chatted.
Turns out the lady was in Basel for a convention; she was getting ready for a meeting that morning, and in her rush to dry her hair, had managed to get herself in a tangle. Her meeting was supposed to have taken place three hours earlier; luckily, she’d managed to postpone it.
She was from New York, and we started chatting about how awesome the city is. When I told her where I was from, we started chatting about flight MH370; it had been a few weeks since its mysterious disappearance.
Eventually I freed the brush from the hair, and also, I’d like to think, the lady from her misery. Some hair was sacrificed in the process, but thankfully I didn’t leave a bald spot. She was still able to attend her meeting with a full head of hair on her head.
I had to leave for an appointment shortly after, so I didn’t manage to meet her again. But when I got home later that day, I found a small piece of paper on my door. She had left her name card.
If I ever find myself in New York again, perhaps I’ll drop by her shop.
Until then, that name card will serve as a reminder of the day I did battle with a hair styling tool.