Every six weeks I return to Longview, Texas to see Dr. Hannah. No, I don’t have some sort of rare ailment that only she can treat. Dr. Hannah is my hairdresser. But let’s start at the beginning.
My employer in Longview was…how should I put this? He thought personal errands and appointments should be handled during personal time. The man was single and couldn’t understand the importance of a good hairdresser.
Hannah, my hairdresser, and I had been friends for several years before I’d taken a job with Mr. Business. During tax season we worked ten hours a day Monday through Friday, and six hours on Saturdays. This impossible schedule left no time for hair appointments. What was a girl to do?
I studied the employee handbook carefully. If I asked permission twenty-four hours in advance, I could work through lunch and leave at 4 p.m. But if I had a doctor’s appointment, all I had to was schedule it on the company calendar. My mama didn’t raise a dummy, and Dr. Hannah started her private practice.
Everything worked smoothly for a solid three months. I still got my hour lunch break, and I left promptly at four o’clock to arrive at my hair color and cut appointment. Everyone knew I would be leaving early to see Dr. Hannah, and no one delved deeper into my medical history. Thank you, HIPAA!
One day, a Dr. Hannah day, Mr. Business called me into his office. “Jann, what’s going on? Why are you going to the doctor every six weeks? Do I need to be concerned? Do you have cancer? And who’s this Dr. Hannah? I can’t find him listed in any of the medical practices around Longview.” Obviously, my boss thought very little of HIPAA.
“Oh, Dr. Hannah specializes in, uh, female issues. I’m getting to that age where…” Mr. Business threw out his hands, palms forward, in front of his body. “Stop right there—I don’t want to know! Just take care of yourself, okay?” He spun that swivel chair towards his computer so fast he probably got whiplash.
Yes, Dr. Hannah and I have been through a lot—my kids graduating high school and college, her wedding, and of course my move from Texas to Louisiana. We don’t talk for six weeks, but when we spend those two hours together, we can’t stop talking! I know more about her than I do about a lot of my friends. And she can probably say the same about me. We talk marriage and politics and small towns and recipes and true crime television. I’ve known Dr. Hannah for nine years now, and I can’t imagine anyone else taking care of my hair. She’s such a dear friend, and I cherish those two hours every six weeks. Our friendship has lasted more than most.
What about you? How tight are you with your hairdresser? Does she (or he) have a medical degree?
Jann Goar Franklin graduated Russellville High School in 1989. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org