I was in the locker room of this shop where I worked, getting changed into my uniform before my shift. I was about to head out to work with the rest of the crew, when I heard a sharp grunt of anger somewhere behind me. The locker room was filled with clouds of steam from the showers, but I made my way through the steam until I came upon one of my co-workers holding a pair of electric clippers in one hand and brushing his other hand across a spot just above his ear. I looked close and I could see that he had nicked himself with the clippers and taken out a big chunk of hair above his ear. I told him that the only thing he could really do to fix it was to shave the rest of his head.
He made a hard frown and a curse, but he acknowledged what I said and he headed over to one of the mirrors above the sinks on the other side of the locker room. But things got confused in the cloud of steam and suddenly it was me holding the clippers and walking towards the mirror. It was me that had to shave my head now. The steam had fogged up the mirror. I tried to clear the fog away with my hand, smoothing out a clear circle in the middle of the mirror, but as soon as I had that hole cleared and I tried to see myself so that I could shave my head, the mirror would just instantly fog over again. I tried to just shave my head without being able to see what I was doing, plowing long even strips up one side and then the other. But when I pulled the clippers away and felt my head to see if I’d gotten everything, I would always feel thick patches of hair that I had missed. I would never be able to do this without being able to see myself.
There was a room upstairs above the shop, where I thought I might find a mirror and maybe a little pair of scissors to get a closer trim. The room was a brightly lit bedroom with a low ceiling and a big four-posted bed with thick, darkly lacquered, wooden posts. There was a matching wooden dresser across the room. It sat beneath the front window which looked out on the grey day outside and the quiet residential street below. I rifled through the drawers of the dresser, trying to find the mirror and the scissors, but there was nothing but old bracelets and earings and little plastic figurines and loose red and white dice misplaced from some board games.
I finally found a little pair of nail trimming scissors in one of the bottom drawers, but still no mirror. I looked out the window and I saw someone in a heavy winter coat passing on the sidewalk below. I could ask them! They could trim my hair. They could see what they were doing. I fumbled with the latch on the window, trying to get it open so that I could call down to the person on the sidewalk and ask for their help before they slipped away.