So, I was at the hairdresser’s the other day.
I don’t go very often. Because every time I go it’s like three hours and I hate that time and I’m an antisocial introvert who dies a little inside at the prospect of a stranger asking me “So, what do you do?” and “Got big plans for spring break?” for three straight hours. But it must be done because, yeah, I’m coloring my hair since I am absolutely not ready to be asked about my grandson who is actually my son, so shut up and yes, just a tint of auburn, thanks.
The last time I went was probably over a year ago, and I was explaining my angst to the hairdresser and he said in a very kindly and reasonable tone, as if dealing with a crazy person,
“You know, if you came more often for touch-ups, it wouldn’t be a three hour appointment when you did come.”
Yes, yes, yes. I know.
Well, I was there, and it was, indeed, almost three hours, and in the midst of those hours, I was privy to a conversation happening nearby, as one does at the salon.
The stylist, a gay man, was conversing with his straight female client, an attorney, and the subject of children and Why on Earth Have Them came up. The gist of the conversation was (participants garbled, but content not): We are not having children because we will probably have to care for my in-laws when they get too old and we are both really busy now. We thought about it and looked into adopting a Chinese baby, but the stress even just that put on our relationship was so great we knew then that it couldn’t at all bear the stress of having an actual child. And when you have children, oh, you just can’t do what you want anymore, and they are so expensive. A million dollars to raise one kid! Yeah, we have dogs. It’s enough. Why do people have kids, anyway?
I didn’t know these people. I wasn’t invited into the conversation. I’m not a regular client. They were two chairs away. So okay, nail me for Not Evangelizing. Sorry. But believe me, if I had been asked, I would have said something. And I would have said that you can do the most amazing thing in the world – you can build a great business – a salon or what have you. You can defend a lot of clients. You can write a ton of books. Even religous! Books! All great things.
But you know what?
Not any of that is as wonderful and cool and meaningful as knowing that you have, personally, participated in making or nurturing another human being who is now on their own journey on this planet. It will flip, turn, drain and humble you and you will sacrifice good things, but you will do so for better things: people. They will not be who you think they will be or even what you hope they might be, but they will be themselves, and that is amazing. Nothing else you might ever achieve compares.
I wish that we could preach it simply and directly, without politics, because there’s no need. That’s it, that’s the Culture of Life, in five words:
Making new people is awesome.