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better than dreams

better than dreams


Every spa and salon owner between here and Highway 95 knows their bread and butter has everything to do with the art of touch and those who remain past the test of time have mastered the precise language of hospitality.

“They’re opening the shop just for me,” Mom said.

After measuring her risk and mine I took her, then proceeded to wait for over two hours as one woman pampered her in partial darkness in the back of the salon so as not to be seen by passersby. Mom was risking her health to be touched with care, waited on and treated with kindness. The shop owner was risking her business by letting her in and between the two of them, a permanent need was being temporary fulfilled.

How did I know? Because I went to salons for the exact same reason and when my children ask why I laugh and tell them I need someone to touch me. That always begins a round of “Ew, that’s gross!” and ends with all of us laughing; them because they really find it gross and me because they haven’t yet reached the space of different need but of course it will come. Every Mom’s touch fails to be sufficient for their child’s needs at some point.

What’s interesting about Mom is that aesthetics and crime rates are not important to her overall experience. She seemed oblivious to the sad state of affairs in the area because the salon she’d chosen was in a shady part of town and entry was through an alley that conceivably should have been condemned. It was shady enough that I began thinking about the benefits of concealed carry before the anxiety got to me which led to leaving without a destination before returning to pick her up.

The experience reminded me of the lengths many of us have traveled to feel wanted or supported and the choices made to control or limit that support, often based on our ability to give back in fair exchange. Though it’s a need that can be fulfilled by many, in theory it doesn’t cost money or anxiety to be secured and the fact that it doesn’t go away indicates the permanently evolved nature of human connection.

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