“Maybe you could talk to him,” my hair stylist was saying. “He can say no to his son, but maybe if you ask him really sweetly, his heart will melt and he won't be able to say no to you.”
The target of this advice was my stylist’s young assistant, who was upset because her father-in-law didn’t want to wear a tux for her wedding.
They discussed this over hand-held hair dryers while standing on either side of me, taking turns tugging at me by the hair with circular hairbrushes.
I kept quiet.
“Don’t you think that would work, Kathy?” my stylist asked.
The question startled me. I had been thinking about the meeting I had attended recently on the topic of manipulation. How before the meeting, I had hardly given the subject any thought. And how since then I seemed to see it everywhere.
I thought for a minute, wondering what I should say. Finally, I took a deep breath and told her I’d stopped trying to get people to do what I wanted them to.
“I’m a lot happier when I accept people and things as they are,” I said.
No one said anything else for what seemed like a very long time.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived too long in a strange and foreign land, and returned with customs that no one here can quite comprehend.
But having caught a glimpse of the other side, I find there’s no going back.