Earlier this year, I changed hair stylists after having been with my previous stylist for over a decade. My decision had nothing to do with the stylist, but with the COVID-protocols (or lack thereof) my former stylist’s salon was taking.
Like many salons, even the new salon lifted its mask mandate in late June. I was concerned about bringing Isabelle — who is unvaccinated due to her age — in this fall for a haircut. Our new stylist agreed to add Isabelle’s curly cut on to the end of a weekend day so we’d be the only ones in the salon.
Two days prior to the haircut, I received a confirmation for an earlier arrival time. I called the salon to find out why that happened. Apparently, things got mixed up and we were moved to an earlier time, which didn’t thrill me since we were supposed to be arriving when it’d just be us at the salon. I told the receptionist I was concerned that Isabelle would be in the salon with a lot of unmasked people. The receptionist told me she’d chat with our stylist and would call me back later in the day.
When the receptionist called me back, she told me to still bring Isabelle in at the earlier time, but promised me that everyone in the salon would be masked. I was skeptical it would be possible to ask all of the clients in there to wear masks. However, I figured it was worth trying. Worst possible case scenario: we could leave if there was someone hacking in another stylist’s chair.
Isabelle and I walked in at precisely 2 o’clock. Once I hung up our coats, I looked around. The receptionist, both stylists who were still there, and each of their clients were wearing masks. Tears began to well up in my eyes. Isabelle went to the bathroom and I grabbed the receptionist to thank her profusely.
She shrugged it off. “That’s what I’m here for.”
“No, you don’t understand,” I continued. “Everything for the past 19+ months has been complicated. Everything we do is a calculation of how much risk I’m willing to take. I can’t begin to tell you how much this means to me.”
I could see her smile through her mask. (It is possible to see someone’s smile even when they’re wearing a mask!)
I’m eagerly awaiting the FDA’s decision about vaccines for children ages 5-11 since I am hoping this will lead to our family being able to return to some semblance of normalcy. While I’ve committed to homeschooling this school year, I am planning to have the kids resume activities like Hebrew school, art classes, and museum visits. Heck, I just want to be able to take my kids to the grocery store again without worrying whether a quick trip inside will be a grave mistake! (NOTE: Like many Americans, we live in a place with high transmission and no local mask mandates.)