Dragging a reluctant teenager for a hair cut to a salon is not easy but last Wednesday when he readily consented I was a little surprised but a quick glance at his head made me realise that the untameable afro on his head was the reason for the compliance. Fortunate to have obtained a parking spot on the ground level of the shopping center in Fairfield, my offspring and I entered Neeta City only to exit onto Smart street and turn around the corner to make our way into the salon to which we go regularly. It was a less crowded day and he was shown to his seat and in seconds the barber commenced snipping efficiently with his scissors. My eyes strayed to my reflection in the mirror and I found myself staring at the image of a stranger; a three shades darker than the usual me. To make matters worse, I noticed all the imperfections on my face and tilted my face in several angles to miraculously rid the flaws. Not that I was size 8 or had any semblance to Miss World or Miss Universe, but I have definitely seen better reflections of my visage and my body in the mirror at home and at my workplace.
I did not like what I saw so I averted my gaze and continued to watch the barber, who having finished with the haircut, was shaving the tiny hairs at the back of his neck. I could not erase the reflection off my mind and tried to lift my dampened spirits by seeking solace in the recollection of many shoppers’ displeased reactions at the reflection of their profiles in the glass doors of the shops they walked past. Most people were dissatisfied with their reflections and were sailing in the same boat as me. The well known logic that explains our unhappy reactions is that we are so accustomed to the photographs taken by cameras, which operate in a slightly different way when compared to the mirrors, that we are unable to connect with the unreal images reflected in the mirror. Even the minority few who are pleased with their reflections in the glass doors of shops in the shopping malls, stop for a few seconds to adjust their jacket, dress or touch up their hair before they move on.
The burden on my offspring’s head lay scattered in locks on the floor of the saloon and as my son rose from his chair dusting hair off his face, neck and shoulders, I scrambled off the lounge on which I had journeyed to nostalgia, paid the barber for his services and walked out of the saloon quickly in an effort to bid farewell to the depression that was keen on courting me. My offspring and I resumed conversation about things we had to purchase and while pushing the mirror reflection to the back of my mind I thought that mirrors definitely did not function the way they did in Snow white’s time.