South Park Self

subtly hairy

My lovely hairdresser would tear his own hair out regularly at the things I do to mine (have it cut approximately annually, refuse to blow-dry it, hack my own fringe short), except he's usefully and artfully bald (and highly polished) already. Occasionally I wander into the salon having neglected it for longer than usual and he runs his fingers through it despairingly and announces "That's not a haircut. That's just hair." There is, actually, a huge advantage to the "just hair" stage of coiffure. There are those odd days, usually produced by insomnia, during which I trundle somnambulistically into work and, somewhere around mid-morning, glance at myself in the mirror and have a moment's blank inability to remember if I actually brushed my hair before leaving the house. Fortunately, with "just hair", it's quite difficult to tell if that's the case or not, and I figure that if I can't tell the difference, probably no-one else can either. I clearly did want to be an eccentric and absent-minded professor when I grew up.

Presumably being an absent-minded professor would to some extent insulate me from the kind of phone call I've just had to endure, from a parent equally distressed and infuriated by her attempts to re-insert her son into the institution following academic exclusion. I understand her distress, this sort of thing is equally hard on kids and parents. But during the course of the conversation she did the following:
  • Chewed me out because no-one else is answering their phone;
  • Claimed that the online guidelines to readmission, carefully written by myself, didn't cover the information she needs (they really do);
  • Accused me of gross insensitivity two sentences after commending the sensitivity of my language;
  • Accused the institution of elitism because we require some evidence of improved circumstances before we re-admit excluded students;
  • Accused the institution of elitism because we enforce the government-set restrictions on maximum number of years of study permitted without graduation;
  • Did all of the above in tones of sweet, icy, implacable restraint which did their damnedest to present what was actually a self-indulgent vent at a hapless and largely uninvolved target as an exercise in dulcet and righteous reason.


I am extremely proud of the fact that I didn't lose my temper for an instant, remaining determinedly courteous and rational while she escalated the ice-salvos. Years of therapy are definitely worth something. But calls such as these leave me shaking and with my stomach in knots for hours, and are undoubtedly highly implicated in the increasing acreage of grey which characterises my not-a-hairstyle. I bring it on myself, of course, by being conscientious about answering my phone, in sharp contradistinction to many other corners of this institution. Fortunately the spanky new VOIP phone system has caller ID, and her name is emblazoned on my brain in letters of acidic ice. I see her name again, I'm going to let it ring. This resolution will be materially assisted by the fact that I'm going to be out of the office for a couple of days having the cobwebs surgically removed from various neglected reproductive portions of my anatomy. She may phone in vain with my blessing.

My subject line is the Very Secret Diary of Aragorn Son of Arathorn, who is the patron saint of bloggers. I seem to be blogging again. Go me!
So glad you are blogging again! Also, best of luck with the cobweb removal, wish I was in town to bring you tea.
Sounds like someone's mother needs to remember not to try aggravating the person who is actually trying to help her.

All the best with the cobweb removal. Good to have you blogging again.