Use your Words - Smelling Trouble at the Barber's


Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once, and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.


My words are: 


rhyming ~ bashful ~ tale of woe ~ rhetoric ~ security


They were submitted by The Bergham Chronicles  - thank you, Jules!





You know how they say you can smell trouble?

The other day I literally could. 

I went to my hair appointment. Until last spring the chief, who is also a hairdresser, used to do my hair. I stopped going there because frankly I didn't want to have a three hour charity meeting with no witness and no chance of escaping - unless I wanted to do so with aluminum foil in my hair and a cape on, and there was nothing superwomanly about that cape. 

So I started making appointments with M, a former classmate from primary school. We reconnected at the reunion, and she told me that she and her two grown-up daughters run a hair, nail & make-up salon. Brilliant!

One time Colin accompanied me, and she had fun giving him blue and red Highlights!



When I walked in about a month ago, I smelled trouble. They were burning incense sticks, clearly to scent the salon that was reeking of cigarette smoke and sweat. What was going on here?


D, her 20 year old daughter greeted me, friendly as always, but I could tell she was slightly annoyed. She took my jacket and said something in Italian to the guy who was bashfully standing in the background of the room, awkwardly fiddling around with the shower hose of the backwash shampoo station. I think she was asking him to put my jacket in the wardrobe because he asked "dove?" (Where?)


Who was he, and what was he doing here? (And what is so hard about finding that rack with the hangers..? It's right there!) He looked too young to be her boyfriend. I mean, I get that some women like younger men, but last time she told me about her boyfriend, she mentioned having dented the bumper of his car. And if that guy here was allowed to drive (the minimum age in Switzerland is 18), then I should consider taking the train in the future! Maybe a relative who was visiting form Italy? But why would he volunteer to hang out in a hair salon when clearly he wanted to be anywhere else than here? He sent off a huge vibe of "I don't belong here!"


D started mixing the dye for my highlights, and it didn't take long and she comment about him to her mother. In Swiss German. I know that they usually speak Italian, so I took a wild guess and - well - guessed that the guy didn't understand any German. A cousin then. But they said things like "he shows no interest whatsoever, he didn't ask one question", and "what should we do with him?"

I got it! He was a "Schnupper-Stift"! That's what the young people are called who spend time in businesses to find out if they should apply for an apprenticeship within that line of work! Usually they are given some easy assignments so they can get a feel of what the job is like. So at a beauty place you would probably ask them to take the  clients' jackets and make coffee for them, maybe wash their hair (please don't let him touch my hair - or anything else for that matter!!!), and you would explain to them how things work, like making a perm, or dyeing hair.



I was curious, so I asked, and she confirmed that in fact he was here to find out if he was destined to be a Barbiere. 

"So I take it it's a no?" I joked. 

"That's kind of rhetoric question now, isn't it?" 

She rolled her eyes at me and told me his entire tale of woe: 

The other day, his Dad (not the guy) came to the salon to ask for this favor. The family lives in an apartment building that belongs to my hairdresser's family. They have been living in Switzerland for over two years, and the only person who speaks decent Swiss German is the Dad. The son - let's call him Giovanni - attends integration school. I didn't know that this exists. It's usually a six-months' course for immigrants' kids. They get crash courses in our language and culture so they should be able to join their regular grade's classes soon. Our Giovanni here was still hanging out in the security of integration school without any efforts to graduate. "Let's take my friend's cousins who came from Italy last year - they attended the crash course for three months and are doing really well in school today!" she said. "And he is smelly, too!" She was clearly annoyed. 

In the meantime a 8 or 9 old boy entered the store and asked for a Cristiano Ronaldo hairdo. "Sure" she said, "you know these past weeks I have learned what all the soccer stars' hair Looks like, I can do Neymar, Behrami, even Palacio if you really, really want me to!"



"Don't you do this sort of work, like hiring and firing? How should we go about this?" she asked when she came back to my seat. I suggested that she asked Giovanni why he was here, what he was passionate about, and if he benefitted at all from observing from afar. 

She did, and I didn't get a word. It turned out later that they were actually speaking Sicilian!! 
I knew they were Italian, but Sicilian? Wow, my old friend, a mafiosa? 



They guy didn't say much apart from "I'm here cause I have to", walked out with his tail between his legs - only to show back up a couple of minutes later… with his mama! Oh, Boy, trouble… 


The mothers were talking loudly in the third person about Giovanni as if he wasn't here. Turned out he should have done this field work gig during the school year. He didn't manage to find a place to get this experience, so he had to do it during summer vacation, and he would need to present a completed evaluation form to his teacher..! 

A ?#@*&%! form was their main concern…? Geez, I can smell more trouble!

Before I ask you to go and visit the other blogs... I give you… rhyming words in Italian!!

Enjoy and sing along!



Figaro from Il Barbiere die Siviglia - Gioachino Rossini

Largo al factotum della città.
Presto a bottega che l'alba è già.
Ah, che bel vivere, che bel piacere
per un barbiere di qualità! di qualità!
Make way for the factotum of the city,
Hurrying to his shop since dawn is already here.
Ah, what a fine life, what fine pleasure
For a barber of quality!
Ah, bravo Figaro!
Bravo, bravissimo!
Fortunatissimo per verità!
Ah, bravo Figaro!
Bravo, bravissimo!
A most fortunate man indeed!
Pronto a far tutto,
la notte e il giorno
sempre d'intorno in giro sta.
Miglior cuccagna per un barbiere,
vita più nobile, no, non si da.
Ready to do everything
Night and day,
Always on the move.
A cushier fate for a barber,
A more noble life, is not to be had.
Rasori e pettini
lancette e forbici,
al mio comando
tutto qui sta.
V'è la risorsa,
poi, del mestiere
colla donnetta... col cavaliere...
Razors and combs,
Lancets and scissors,
At my command
Everything's there.
Here are the tools
Of my trade
With the ladies...with the gentlemen...
Tutti mi chiedono, tutti mi vogliono,
donne, ragazzi, vecchi, fanciulle:
Qua la parrucca... Presto la barba...
Qua la sanguigna...
Presto il biglietto...
Qua la parrucca, presto la barba,
Presto il biglietto, ehi!
Everyone asks for me, everyone wants me,
Ladies, young lads, old men, young girls:
Here is the wig...the beard is ready...
Here are the leeches...
The note is ready...
Here is the wig, the beard is ready,
The note is ready, hey!
Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!, ecc.
Ahimè, che furia!
Ahimè, che folla!
Uno alla volta, per carità!
Ehi, Figaro! Son qua.
Figaro qua, Figaro là,
Figaro su, Figaro giù.
Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!, etc.
Ah, what frenzy!
Ah, what a crowd!
One at a time, please!
Hey, Figaro! I'm here.
Figaro here, Figaro there,
Figaro up, Figaro down,
Pronto prontissimo son come il fulmine:
sono il factotum della città.
Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo;
a te fortuna non mancherà.
Swifter and swifter, I'm like a thunderbolt:
I'm the factotum of the city.
Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo,
You'll never lack for luck!

Before / After - Didn't she do a nice job?

PS: Maybe Giovanni has a nice voice, so he will be a barber after all?

Now please go check out what words the other bloggers got and what they did with them:



Baking In A Tornado 

Spatulas on Parade 
The Momisodes 
Confessions of a part time working mom 
Juicebox Confession
Evil Joy Speaks
Follow Me Home…
Someone else's Genius   
Crumpets and bollocks
The Bergham Chronicles
The Sadder but Wiser Girl


Please take a minute to send strength and peace to my blogger friend at Stacy sews and Schools who lost her Dad a couple of days ago. My thoughts have been with her ever since I've heard.