I haven't had a haircut for a very long time. I decided to splurge and actually get a cut at a salon where appointments are required. Oooh, fancy. I was meeting my sister in the city about half way for both of us, so that she could watch Mom while I got my haircut. Neither one of us knew the salons in that city, but I found one at the mall, and called them for an appointment.
I must just be a country bumpkin. Or don't get out much. Or just don't know how fancy salons work.
They have 8 different levels of hairstylist. Prices started at $24.00 for a Level 1 and went up from there. I have never paid more than $20.00 for a haircut, but again, I was splurging, so I took a stab in the dark and asked what a level 3 would be. $30.00. Ok, sign me up. They didn't have any level 3's available, so I made an appointment with a level 2.
I then called my sister to tell her the appointment time, and she had never heard of this level thing either. Are we just small town idiots? Is this common practice out there? Anyway, she said that if I was going to splurge, I needed to get a higher level. She said I couldn't go on vacation with a level 2 haircut, and she would even chip in $10.00 just so she could see what a $40.00 haircut would look like. She made me call back. That would have landed me a level 6 stylist. Oooh, level 6. Unfortunately, the highest level available all day was a 4, so I had to settle.
Well, a level 4 haircut (the whole level thing was to account for the experience level of the stylist, apparently) started out with a 2-3 minute scalp massage with an oil (lavender?). As I told her, that right there was worth the price of the haircut. It was amazing. Another massage during the wash, and I was putty. I didn't even care what the haircut was like!
So then we went for a late lunch, and as my sister was driving us back to my truck, we had to go up an onramp to the highway. There, on the off ramp with a steep embankment, we saw somebody climbing over the guard rails onto the road, and then lifting a metal 2 wheeled cart over the guard rails. The person stood up, and we realized it was an old lady. By that time, we were already on the highway. So we took the next exit, turned around, etc etc, and by that time she was standing at the side of the lower highway, waiting for traffic to clear so she could cross. We weren't sure what to do, and my sister drove a little bit, then we turned around again, and by that time she had crossed the lower highway, and was now clambering up the embankment on the other side, again headed for the upper freeway. Crap! I dialed 911 while my sister parked, then I tossed the phone to her and headed up the embankment, calling Ma'am, ma'am. By the time I caught up, she was at the top, so we stood there on the side of the freeway, (inside the guard rails) chatting. She didn't look terribly surprised to see me.
She is Genevieve XXXX, 88 years old, and lives alone in XXXX Towers in downtown. She has a sister in XXX, a small town in SE MN, one that had been hit by flooding in August. She grew up there, her grandfather came from Norway and was one of the first to settle the area. She does this all the time, she said, she is used to it. I could understand that, SE MN is hilly blufflands, lots of dairy farms, so clambering around embankments was probably very familiar to her. She was only wearing one glove, so I asked her about that, and we found it in her cart and put it on her. She was very nattily dressed, nice coat, white tam and matching gloves, gold hoops in her ears.
She said she was going to go shopping in the shops over there, pointing. Well, the area that she was pointing to was up and down two or three more embankments, crossing at least one off-ramp from the freeway, scaling concrete guard rails, and I think a chain link fence! I told her that we would give her a ride, and pursuaded her to come with me back down to the car. I took her cart, and back down the embankment we went. We settled her cart in the trunk, and her in the back seat next to Mom. I spoke to my sister about what 911 had said. They reported it to the State Patrol, and would send a car. Apparently they were familiar with her. We were up there 15-20 minutes, and no one showed, so we just turned around and headed up to the freeway to get her to the shops she said she wanted. Except when we got to the correct exit, she said she didn't know where she was, she wasn't familiar with that area. So we turned around and took the frontage road back to where we started, and she said oh yeah, this is the route she takes to get back. We took her to the grocery store in the shopping area, and she said she would do her shopping here, that it was close to home, and wanted to pay us for our time. She went off into the grocery store, and we called 911 again to tell them what we had done. They said they would inform the State Patrol, thank you, and hung up. Ok, so in the meantime, do we just leave her? So then we got the non-emergency number for the local police, and explained to them the whole thing. She is apparently known to them too, and they were going to send a car to check on her. Since she is appropriately dressed for the weather, wasn't a harm to herself or others, there wasn't a whole lot they could do, but they would check on her.
When I first saw Genevieve, all I could think was what if she is "going home". What if there is a caregiver out there absolutely frantic? We couldn't not stop.