I admit to being in a bit of a hurry and was also a bit frustrated because we were behind schedule. I backed out of our parking place as I normally do, looking in my side mirrors. Just as I was ready to shift into first gear and head out, the car came to a thudding and sudden stop and a loud scream penetrated my senses. The sudden jolt and loud scream startled me and I looked at Diane.
“What was that?”
Today was shopping day in Manta. Without rushing, and depending on road conditions, we can drive from our place to Manta in about 1.5 hours. Some do it in less time. Diane gets her hair done in Manta. A couple of months ago, she discovered an American woman who was a hairdresser working in a hotel salon in Manta so once a month, or so…off we go to Manta. We use the opportunity to hit the large, modern SuperMaxi grocery as well as the large Pharmacy and any other shopping that needs doing while in the “big city.”
I had set our departure for 9:00 to get Diane to her appointment by 11:00 with a bit of extra time. One never knows what will be encountered on the roads here. We were running late.
Diane started to laugh as a James Brown tune blared through the car speakers. It took a second or two but I realized the loud scream we heard was the Godfather of Soul starting one of his famous songs. Diane had plugged the memory stick into the car stereo and I hadn’t noticed. His scream was coincidentally timed to the exact moment I had accidentally backed into a low, rock landscaping wall that was below my view. The back tires simply bumped up against it. We laughed together for a minute or two while I finally negotiated the turn out of the parking area. We had driven maybe 40 yards and I asked Diane if she had remembered her cell phone. Nope! I backed up the 40 yards of driveway and tried to turn into our parking area just as another truck was emerging. I stopped, pulled forward and exclaimed in my best James Brown persona… “Good God Y’all!”
Diane climbed out and trotted back into our house to grab her phone. In 3-4 minutes, she returned. We spent the next 5 minutes sitting in the parking lot making James Brown remarks to each other and laughing so hard one of us peed just a little and the other was crying. I guess you had to be there!
I finally found first gear and we headed out, now about 40 minutes behind schedule.
I was able to make-up some time along the way. The day was spectacular; severe clear with bright blue sky. The drive would take us across a small mountain range and down the other side. We would traverse a variety of terrain with many things to see; Small villages, fields filled with growing onions, lush/wet rice paddies with workers bent over tending the crop, donkeys carrying all sorts of things to include a large boom box, dozens of roadside vendors and whole-town celebrations with bands and parades. The hills and valleys offered great views of the landscape regardless of where one looked. Soon, we began downhill and after crossing the flats, entered the outskirts of Manta set against the azure blue and flawless Pacific. Dozens of large commercial tuna boats rested at Anchor a bit offshore with their tending vessels running back and forth from shore delivering crews and supplies. Driving into town takes one past several large canneries where the stench hangs thick in the air and nausea is a brief but real companion and the refreshing breeze from the sea cleansed our senses.
Diane got to her appointment about 20 minutes late. Not bad, considering the delayed start! I dropped her at the door and told her I’d be back in about 2 hours. She would call if she got done early. She also mentioned that her regular hairdresser would not be there today as she was in the states. This appointment was to be with an Ecuadorian hairdresser. I kissed her cheek, offered a “good luck” and headed out in search of new wiper blades for Rocky. I found the blades after making only one wrong stop and being directed to the right place. I spent about 30 minutes under the hood tightening a loose throttle cable connection so as to avoid future problems and also bought a couple of new headlights and had them installed. It had been about 1.5 hours since I dropped Diane off. I thought I’d head back that direction. I parked outside the hotel and caught the elevator to the second floor where the salon was located.
I walked inside and saw Diane seated in the first chair, looking like I had never seen her before. Having been the older brother to 3 sisters and living with women most of my adult life, I have some understanding of the whats and hows of a woman’s hair and associated grooming and yet, this was a first for me.
Diane was seated facing a mirror.
Don: “Hi Babe”, I said.
Diane: (grimacing grin in return)
Don: I see you decided on the Donna Summer look. Cool! I like the 80’s.
Don: (breaking into song) Oooooooooo…..love to love ya’ baby….Ooooooooo
Diane: You have no idea what I’ve been through
(Ecuadorian Hair Dresser Said She spoke only a little English)
(hairdresser now wielding large roller brush and hand-held dryer building a huge mountain of hair)
Don: Is there a language problem or is this what you were going for?…I mean…I’m good with it…but…
(a second hairdresser now enters and assists by holding a second brush for a two-brush total)
Don: Don’t worry, babe! It’s nothing a dip in the pool or ocean can’t fix
(much chatter between the two hairdressers as the four hands of these professionals molded teased blow dried and pushed Diane’s hair into precise position)
Don: Looks like you’re ready to shoot the album cover for one of Gladys Knight’s albums.
(hairdresser now finds a can of hairspray, laying down a thick coat of lacquer)
Don: Great, Babe! They’re making it permanent!
We walked to the hotel restaurant where I learned more about Diane’s experience. She was definitely a good sport!! Her regular hairdresser will be back next month. I’m sure she will be grateful.
The drive home was uneventful and beautiful. We unloaded the car in about 4 trips, and made nice with Carmine, apologizing for being gone so long. While we were away, Fatima had completely cleaned the house, top to bottom. We sat on the terrace listening to the surf, trying to remember all of James Brown’s hits. We couldn’t. But the company was great! Nope….This Does Not Suck!