Monday, May 15, 2006


Two weeks ago, when I took my mom into SF to get her hair permed, we saw Scottony's 97-year-old customer. This woman is a little old chinese lady, who comes in every week to get her hair washed and styled. She doesn't wash it at home -- this is her only hair beauty ritual.

When I told my mom that this lady is 97 years old, my mom turned right around and stared at her. Then she went over as soon as the perming rods were taken out of her own hair, and grilled the poor lady:

"You're 97? How do you maintain such vigorous health? Do you have any problems with your hearing? Vision? Arthritis? No??? Wow, how do you do it?"

"I don't get mad," said the lady, who was reclining on the black leather chair with her hair back over the sink, as her hair was shampooed and massaged. The lather covered the top of her forehead as she calmly explained to us. "If other people get mad, I don't get mad back."

"How do you spend your time?" asked my mother.


Afterwards, my mom exclaimed to me for many minutes how inspired she felt. "That woman is 97! I thought I was already old! I've been feeling like I have maybe 15 years of good health left, before I'll be unable to do very much. When I went back to China last year, young people on the bus got up and let me have their seat. One time the conductor even yelled at a young couple to give up their seats for the elderly, and they turned and looked at me, and then the girl got up right away and let me sit down."

"That's preposterous," I said.

"Yeah, I was feeling that there wasn't much time to look forward to. But that woman is 97! Wow! And she's perfectly fine!" And then, as it occurred to her, "WHY DIDN'T WE TAKE A PICTURE TO REMEMBER???"

"Oh my God," I said, deciding where to start. "I really don't think she needs us taking a picture of her as though she's a freak for not having died yet. Especially while she's lying down with her hair full of shampoo."


And people thought MY picture-taking was excessive.