May 14, 2008

Time for a trim

It is finally going to happen today, a haircut (and a few "sun hits" as they call them here to hide those occasional white squiggly things that are suddenly appearing). Even my friends at the pool were commenting on my shaggy look this morning -- time to take action.

While my American friend Rick of Noi Salon HATES clients just showing up at his door and NEEDS to have a clear schedule to his day, my Italian hairdresser, Osvaldo (a.k.a. Charlie) has a hard time giving me a time slot. I called around 1:00 and asked if I could come by, even this afternoon, or if not, tomorrow. When he said today would be fine, I asked what would be a good time for him. "Whenever," was the response, "just drop in and we will take care of you."

Its a time thing. Since most of his customers will just be stopping by,including a few members of the new Parliament, he really doesn't know what his afternoon will look like and I may even end up coming at a bad time -- which, of course, cannot be determined in advanced.

The funny part is that I am fine with this way of operating. He is a great hairdresser, actually an artist. We have a long-term relationship (stemming from my husband having taken care of his personal and business legal affairs for some time now...) and I have a book* to bring along in any case. I just have to meet Andi at 6:15 to talk about a cross-cultural training project we are working on together -- but she will understand if I am late. In any case, we are meeting at her local wine bar, so she will surely find a friend keep her busy.

And that is how it goes for those of us who have slipped off the linear time track to end up at an odd comfort level with "flexible" and relationship oriented time.

a domani (or whenever...),

* Cultural Intelligence: People skills for global business by David C. Thomas and Kerr Inkson. So far, quite an accessible book, clearly written and practical -- more on this book when I am finished. Which makes me almost hope that Charlie is running late...


nightingaleshiraz said...

Grin. Andi will completely understand. Being Pakistani by origin, and *then* living in Italy on top of it, she is hardly little miss punctuality herself... And anyway, a hairdressing appointment is *absolutely* a justified reason to be a little late in *this* country: there is bella figura, and then there is bella figura...

Anonymous said...

I think that flexibility (timewise)depends on what country your culture. In geography we read an article on time in New Guinea that showed have New Guineans tend to be more flexible than americans. I know in the U.S. we are generally less flexible than many other places. i don't know for certain if Italy is more flexible but it sounds like it.


(does "a domani" mean "until tomorrow"?)

Elizabeth Abbot said...

Hi Andi, I even managed to be late! Now how did I do that...But la bella figura was calling and I had to respond.

Hi Mika, (not the mika I know by any chance??)
Yes, a domani means until tomorrow -- a kind of "see you later". so, a domani, E