I’m Beginning to Think You’re Smarter Than I Am

I go into the salon and tell them I have an appointment with Melanie. They say Melanie’s not here, but don’t worry, we have a guy named Roy who takes care of all our walk-ins. And I say fine, whatever, but then it turns out Roy isn’t there either. He should be back in 15 minutes. I go out to get some coffee.

When I get back, everyone is looking at me strangely. More accurately, everyone is going to great lengths to avoid looking at me. I try to figure out what’s changed in the 15 minutes I’ve been gone. I realize I’m completely naked.

You’ve figured out that this is a dream, haven’t you? Well, I haven’t. I’m still standing there, naked, in the salon, thinking this is all really happening. I should know better. Once, I noticed that the interior and exterior of my car were different styles and knew I was in a dream. But sudden unexplained public nudity (or even killing someone for no particular reason) isn’t a big enough hint.

I’m horribly embarrassed. Luckily, I have a suitcase with me. The clothes are at the very bottom, and I have to dig through all the battery chargers, coffee mugs, and egg beaters before I find something to wear.

More clues that this is a dream:

  • I don’t normally pack an egg beater in my suitcase. Maybe this dream is trying to tell me I should.
  • In the real world, I probably would have grabbed one of those smocks they always have in hair salons. But this wasn’t the real world. It was more like the kind of dystopian alternate universe you sometimes see in movies, where everything seems like it’s exactly the same as in our world, but then it turns out that in this horrifying version of reality, the idea of putting on a smock before getting your hair cut never really caught on.
  • My clothes had disappeared some time in the last 15 minutes. I had no memory of this. Wouldn’t you find that kind of alarming? I didn’t. I wasn’t even vaguely curious about what had happened.

Eventually, I get dressed. Roy still hasn’t appeared. But my friend Steve is there. He’s a software developer who works as a stylist on the weekends. He agrees to do my hair. Right after he starts, Roy shows up. He’s mad. Roy and Steve argue like a couple of used-car salesmen fighting over a particularly gullible customer. Roy wins. He takes over. He’s a little gruff. I begin to regret not confirming my appointment with Melanie before coming in.

In the end, my hair looks terrible. I usually get highlights, but now my hair is all exactly the same color, a sort of shoe-polish brown. “Shoe-polish” also describes the texture — instead of moving freely, my hair is arranged in random sticky clumps. I don’t say anything to Roy, though, because this is the kind of dystopian dream world in which you don’t get to see your hair until after you’ve left the salon and gone home.

I had this dream last Monday. I had a real hair appointment yesterday. It went much better than the one in the dream.