Friday, March 28, 2014

The Eyebrows Have It

If you type "Electric hair trimmer Philips" into Google -> Images, you will not see the model I am about to talk about, but no matter. I'll paint words pictures around its ingenious construction and you'll get the true essence of its form.

It's an electric hair trimmer made by Philips.


Why, is that not enough? OK, it has a detachable comb, duh, but there is only one comb! Because with this model, and this is why I was trying to get a stock image for you, the bottom part of the handle is also a rotating switch which adjusts the setting for the hair length by varying the retraction of the curved spindle which is a key part of the comb, where it attaches itself by being inserted into, or invaginating, the body of trimmer. It does not have multiple combs, is my point. One comb, and by turning the bottom section around, it goes in or out. Setting goes up by threes.

The more recent model - a sliding comb adjuster! Must have!

I no longer use it to trim my head however. When I first bought it, I'd use the No 3 setting, go all over the skull, cropping, buzzing, several times. Down this side twice, that side twice, up the back, up the back again, around this ear, around that ear, at the temples and the few hairs left up top, once over all again, then I'd take the comb off and I'd guesstimate the area back at the neck and sweep down under my collar area to take all that zombieness away.

But of course I'd do an amateurishly crap job at it, always leave little tufts here and there, despite my most meticulous efforts. If I tied little bits of yellow or white ribbon to those tufts, I might look cute but instead they make me look like a klutz who doesn't even know how to drive an electric hair trimmer! Keep him away from important things, people! Like complicated medical devices!


There is $10 haircut salon/cupboard that I use now at the small shopping mall about 15-mins walk away from E@LGHQ. They do an excellent job, although I have issues with the lack of a symmetrical method of one of the ladies. She doesn't do exactly the same motions when she is doing my right side than she does on my left side. It's not a handed-ness thing, she just approaches the sides with a different pattern of trimming, a random technique. I'm always thinking that she's going to miss out on that little tuft of almost invisible hairs at my temple, just forward of my upper left ear. She nails it on the right side, but not the left. She comes close, but her strategy for the left side is asynchronous. She passes just near it, hovers above it, below it. Until finally, often on the last sweep across, she eventually clips the ones she has missed. It's just that I am sitting in the chair, nothing to do but think about this. I call it people watching. Not judging, watching.

Once a month, usually on a Saturday (Sunday might also be good), I buy a ciabatta at Cedele, have a hazelnut-choc spin and two wholemeal-raisin cookies at Spinellis, then get my hair-cut and day-dream about losing weight while the buzz of the hair trimmer white noise blurs away most of my other cares - except for haircut technique symmetry. Most other Saturdays (or Sundays), when I am in town, I buy a ciabatta, have a hazelnut-choc spin and two wholemeal-raisin cookies, and don't get a haircut, but maybe pop down for a massage at the local R&T-shop instead.

How was your weekend?

Thursday (yesterday now), I had a haircut because I had flown in from Bangkok on Saturday evening, and on Sunday had gone to watch Wes Anderson's new one, The Grande Hotel Bucharest (the fact that is was based on the writings of Stepan Zweig sent me back to The Post Office Girl , looking for resonances) and it had thrown my schedule. So I was working, ahem, from home, ahem. And that's why, today, I got my hair-cut.


You will be pleased to hear that I do use my own electric hair-trimmer, that money was not completely wasted, but only for my goatee (setting at No 6, once a fortnight is enough) and (once a month, after the hair-cut - not needed after the R&T) when I set out to tame the politician-like prominence of my bushy eyebrows...

So this afternoon, I did my overdue goatee, shook out all the trimmings, and I set the control at the bottom of hair-trimmer to No.12 - an adequate level to correctly balance the brow's bushiness between "gone-to-seed" and "youthfully trim" without appearing PR-advisorly sculpted - and I started on the left eyebrow. No need to look in the mirror...


At first there was the sound - like a large strip of velcro being ripped open. Then came the sensation of tugging, my eyebrow's skin being pulled across - this sensation should not happen, there was something WRONG...

NNNNOOOooooooo! I shut the cabinet door to look at the mirror...

I saw it then on the bathroom bench, right in front of me, the comb. I had detached it from the hair-trimmer to shake out my goatee hairs! I had not replaced it! OMFG! It was unmodulated clipper-teeth biting into my eyebrow! Setting 0!


Now you can be supercilious if you like, but I think this might turn out to be a crucial, positive, day in my life.

Not only do I know appear as if I was auditioning for the role of Grima Wormtongue in LOTR - played with such malign oleaginousness by Brad Dourif, who shaved off his eyebrows to appear more sinister (not dexter?) - but I can finally accept that something has been affecting my cognitive facilities.

Yes, it must be the meds! Drugs, medications, chemicals! Out with them. Rid my body of these "scientific" toxins in tablet form, these capsules of calamity and contra-indications. [Aside: it's the side-effects!]

I can't keep doing things like this to myself. Can't keep losing things, forgetting things like all the things I forget or lose. Names, faces, phones. Lost, forgotten. Those painkillers are killing me. It must be painful dear readers, for you to have observed this gradual (some might say precipitous - I was coming from a great height) decline in mental and physical dexterity (and sinistry. I am ambidextrous, I mean ambisinistrous.)

It must be the meds!


Sorry? What did you say?

That I have been blogging about my cognitive incompetencies, my inability to deal with inanimate objects or with WiFi connections, with my brazen obtuseness in trying to comprehend simple instructions on various mobile phone operating systems, that I have documented all these things in over 10 years of Expat-At-Large, from way back when? Way back before I found a competent, dogged and persistently experimental (avoid Cimbalta people - ciabatta is OK), but eventually successful neurologist who gave me all these meds and made the pain go away? Mostly. (Neuropathy, people, in case you have forgotten, of the feet. Worst kind of all - idiopathic.)

Really? I'd forgotten that.

Ah OK, so it's not just the meds. I've been a bumbling fool forever it seems. Yes, that's true. Those thoughts, those horrible memories do come to me, they come too often. And I cringe now, to think back on some of my foolish bumbles. Oh fuck yeah, I've done some clumsy and some stupid things.

But not many as clumsy and stupid as this...

Brad Dourif - separated at birth



Unknown said...

What a dilemma! Do you shave off the other half of the eyebrow, try and come up with a fake eyebrow, or just shave off both eyebrows and hope no one notices.

expat@large said...

It's like when shaved off my goatee several years ago and Izzy didn't pick it! Today, it took a while for my colleagues to even become aware that there was something different. I wonder if strangers would be more likely to see the issue because they might do a more thorough scan without preconceptions and automatic filling in of the details...?

Unknown said...

Fnally! A Post worth reading.
Where do I get one of those eyebrow destroying monsters?

Unknown said...

PS. Your Captcha thingy says "Type the text".
But all I can see are numbers.
Where can I lodge a complaint?

expat@large said...

Nick, I think that technology is banned in Thailand under the current regime. Captcha are their own entity. Talk to the eyebrow, I mean hand.

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