dimanche, octobre 29, 2006

Hair crisis and moving redux

Okay, this actually begins on Saturday night, but I didn't want my hair-clipper emergency to overshadow the Salon du Chocolat, so it's part of Sunday's post.

So, I was thinking of going out Saturday night, maybe do a bit of drinking in the Marais. Most weekends since my arrival, I've been either at techno events (in not-so-gay locations) or out of town, so I haven't really spent all that much time in the gay-borhood at all. Anyway, I had been meaning to cut my hair for more than a week, so I finally got out the clippers and got to clipping. With a few rare exceptions, I cut my own hair; it's not that difficult when you keep everything really short. To that end, my electric hair clipper has served me in good stead. Ever since I got to Paris, though, the poor little thing has had troubles dealing with the voltage. I got a transformer and everything, but something still wasn't quite right and it always seemed to be running at an unusually high level. All of this, it turns out, would mislead me Saturday night.

About 30 seconds into cutting my hair, with literally half of my head shorn, the clipper started cutting out intermittently. After a moment, it stopped working altogether. At first I thought that the European electrical system had finally busted the thing. After unplugging, replugging, plugging it in elsewhere, checking the fuses, and giving it a good shake, I gave up and started trying to even out my head with a pair of scissors and a comb. It was tragic. At first I thought I should capture this moment with a picture, but then I realized that I didn't want that floating around the net. Scantily clad or naked? Sure! Tragic hair? Never.

Nevertheless, it was clear that I couldn't go out in this state. In fact, I don't think I would've been able to go to a hair salon to get this corrected. Out of shame, I would've spent the rest of my time in France wearing one of the 3 ballcaps I brought with me. Since the night was already ruined, I set about to trying to tinker with my clippers. Took a screwdriver to the casing and took the thing apart. It was actually pretty interesting inside (maybe later I'll take a picture with the the device's guts showing), a quick refresher lesson in high-school electrophysics.

After much pulling and prodding and screwing and unscrewing, I figured it out: the copper wiring that runs through the hair clipper and the copper wiring that runs through the electrical cord are not continuous. At some point near the base of the clipper, these two bundles of wire join. However, there was no adhesive or twisting to hold them together; they were simply sheathed in rubber insulation as if they were a continuous fibre, and as the rubber stretched, the two ends of wire began to separate. That night, the wires and finally pulled apart far enough to break the circuit. So, here was my solution:

Okay, mere words do not express how unsatisfactory this is as a solution, but it worked for the time being, and I was able to shear my hair to an even shortness. Tonight (Sunday) I plan on going back over it to shape the sides and back into something more acceptable, but for the moment at least I could present myself the next day at my friend's place. As soon as I can get to a hardware store, I'm going to buy some electrical tape so I can isolate the two exposed leads.

There's some gendered irony in all of this, because I engaged in a culturally masculine act ("I'm going to disassemble, fix, and reassemble this thing myself."), but I was driven by a culturally feminine concern ("My HAIR!!"). Truth be told, I think even the most "feminine" of men or women would start hacking their clippers if they were stuck with the sort of hair tragedy I had.

So, it was nearly 1h00 by the time I got my hair into reasonable shape, and it still wasn't an attractive shape, so I stayed in Saturday night and got some good sleep in preparation for Sunday. I had volunteered to help a friend move into her new place, so I got up in the morning, got dressed and headed over to her place. As exhausting as the move was for her, it went very well and very quickly. I'm still scarred from the many moves I've had to make in my life—especially the most recent episode, where I packed everything I owned into storage space and friends' places. Even with the help of my father and professional movers, the experience nearly did me in. In my friend's case, however, she had about 10 friends there to help her, many of them with cars, and maybe 1/6th the amount of crap I had. All her books and CDs/DVDs fit into 3 medium-sized boxes. I think I filled about 20 boxes with my books. Also, she had a twin mattress and a collapsible bed frame. I had a queen-size with a huge IKEA wooden frame that needed to be taken apart just to get through the doorway. I could go on forever with comparisons, but the point is made. Many hands and few possesions made for quick work, and we were done most of it by 2pm (my friend had to make a final run to another person's place to drop off some of her larger items while she waits for renovations to finish at her new place).

There were plans to go for a drink or two after everyone had gone home and showered and such, but that didn't work as well for me. The rest of the group all live close to each other at one end of the city, while I live nearly at the opposite end. By the time they had started to collect at their local bar for drinks, I had settled in at home and wasn't in a mood to move.

Voila Sunday. Not as exciting as Saturday, but every day can't be Salon du Chocolat day. That would be dangerous.

4 commentaires:

Travis a dit…

You know, things might have been worse. I recall hurriedly preparing to leave for a conference and having a set of clippers die mid-haircut. Not having the desire to fool around with electronics and perhaps kill myself, I took out scissors, trimmed everything down to as short a length as I could, then took a garden variety razor and shaved my head bald. It did the trick, but I bought new clippers as soon as I got home....

LMGM a dit…

Actually, that was totally my next option. If I hadn't had any luck fixing that razor, I was contemplating shaving my head and starting from scratch.

[word verification = "unldy" as in, "unladylike"]

Anonyme a dit…

Wow. Luis nearly channels MacGyver -- "nearly", because your solution sadly did not involve chewing gum.

And yeah, I would have shaved my head as well, but that's kinda what I do on a regular basis anyway.

LMGM a dit…

Dang! I totally should've used some chewing gum to isolate the wires. That would've been totally McGuyver.