Never do this at home, kids
For some reason, I have never cut anyone’s hair before (he says almost confidently, desperately trawling his memory banks for some childhood incident in which scissors might have been involved). For some other reason, definitely not linked to the first reason, Ottawacker Jr. had managed to convince himself that I was going to be able to cut his hair in a way that he liked. And had been pestering me to do it.
Despite Mrs. Ottawacker’s assurances that his father was an incompetent, incapable of drawing a straight line with a ruler or sticking a stamp onto an envelope in the right place, he held firm. And, so it was, that on a gloriously hot and sunny Sunday morning, armed with scissors, clippers, bowl and ropes, I sat Ottawacker Jr. down on a chair in the garden and gave him his first overtly traumatic paternal incident.
It wasn’t so much that the resulting haircut was bad (it was) or that Mrs. Ottawacker’s warnings were correct and I shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a pair of scissors (they were) or even that Ottawacker Jr.’s ideas of what would suit his head shape were rather too optimistically based on his misguided belief that he looks like Roberto Firmino (they were), it was worse. I froze.
I must have looked like a dipsomaniac with a chainsaw when I started off with the clippers. After we’d done the staged joke photo of OJr with a plastic bowl on his head (see extra), I started off, trimming away millimetre by millimetre until the obvious happened. I lost control of the beast in my hand and cut a swathe through his hair; it was like napalm in a forested area, and even I was cutting, I realized I should stop. But I couldn’t. In the end, Mrs. Ottawacker had to wrestle me to the ground.
Of course, I had to try to repair the damage, and did as best I could. He still looks like Baldrick in the first series of Black Adder though. Still, he’s a forgiving type, and by the time he reads this, it will just be a distant memory, something he can laugh about with his children. I hope.
The rest of the day was also somewhat weird. Maybe it was the heat. Nothing particularly bad happened if you don’t count the psychotics forgetting to take their medicine in the UK government. It’s getting to the stage where I am looking at it and thinking “what a bunch of wankers – thank God it has nothing to do with me.”
It’s like being in an abusive relationship, which I was once, not long before I met Mrs. Ottawacker. You sort of get inured to the madness – what you would once run a mile from, you just shrug your shoulders at. You get worn down until you either accept it and shut up, crack or leave. You see things through a filter – it is all seemingly unreal even though it is all very real. How else can you explain the quite extraordinary events unfurling at the moment in England? There has, quite rightly, been an uproar. And this is the stage where people either accept it and shut up, crack or leave. And you know what? I have no idea what people will do. There could be a pitchfork-wielding mob marching through the streets, torches burning, demanding a lynching or a real political push to remove the far right from power. Or nothing: a tacit acceptance of the status quo.
Nothing surprises me any more in England. Everything disappoints me. I have, I think, reached the stage where I just shrug my shoulders.