A visit to the hairdresser

During the last two months I have completely neglected blogging.


Well, I felt a bit out of order. The job was more demanding than usual, and at the weekends I felt listless and pooped. To make things worse I hurt my right shoulder and for some weeks had difficulties using my  arm properly. Working at the computer simply hurt.

Have you ever noticed how, when feeling low, your own negativity seems to attract unpleasant people and experiences?

The pains in my shoulder had caused some sleepless nights and one Saturday morning, when I felt at my lowest I decided it was time to get out of that rut and do something nice to make me feel better. I decided to go to the hairdresser. I might not feel good but at least I could try to look good!

Hairdresser in Itzehoe

I went to my favorite hairdresser in the nearest town, Itzehoe,. The woman that approached me was maybe in her late twenties, skinny, her black hair cut like Cher’s. She didn’t smile but asked in a rather impolite way: “What do you want done?”

I explained my ideas, nothing very elaborate, just cutting it a bit shorter in a way that would get a bit more “movement” in my hair, because I had difficulties getting the bob I had look the right way, when blow-drying it myself.

“You don’t have a bob”, she said, “and you shouldn’t have one. They are difficult to blow-dry the right way.”

Deciding to ignore her rude tone I replied, “Oh, I thought this was a bob. What do you call this hairstyle then?

“This is a page-boy cut”, she said, and the way she said it sounded somehow scornful. , “Anyway, I don’t think you should cut your hair. The way it is, I don’t know what to do with it. When did you cut it last?”

“Two months ago”, I informed her.

“No, I think you should let it grow some more”, she decided and started undoing the cape she had placed around my shoulders earlier. I asked her to at least cut the fringe, as it was falling into my eyes. Before I could say any more, she took her scissors and within a few a seconds cut off the hairs until what was left was standing up straight.

Looking into the mirror I felt appalled, humiliated and totally defenseless. So instead of complaining I left that place as quickly as possible promising myself never ever under any circumstances to return to this house of horrors.

I don’t know why this woman took such a dislike to me, but I guess it had something to do with feeling low myself. Somehow people looking out to hurt others seems to sense with whom they can play their games and get away with them, too.

Anyway, my conclusion is never go to the hairdresser when your self-esteem is low.

And yes, I am feeling better now, will continue blogging and I have got a very nice new haircut, much shorter than before. The hairdresser was very nice and gave me one of the best massages of my head I ever had.

When the quiet is shattered

On Monday a house exploded in Itzehoe. 4 people died, 15 were injured, a 100 people had to leave their flats and spend the night with relatives or friends. Many of the houses around the explosion site will remain uninhabitable for weeks..

Until today it is not clear what caused the explosion. Most people assume that a defect in the gas heating led to the catastrophe, but nobody knows for sure and everybody is speculating.

Itzehoe is about 8 kilometers from where we live. It is the town we go to when we want a haircut or need to buy some clothes. It is not a town tourists will stop at, but there are a few nice spots and interesting buildings. It is a small town with maybe 33 000 inhabitants. There are many places like Itzehoe all over Germany. They are unremarkable, but peaceful. Their names usually don’t turn up in the headlines of the national papers or in the evening news.

The explosion happened in the old part of town, in an area that just recently had been restored. The houses there are from the end of the 19th century, a working class quarter with 4 or six flats in each house.  Some people who lost their home have lived there all their lives.

I have no emotional ties to Itzehoe. Most of my family is in Northern Saxony, my friends are living mainly in Hamburg or some other faraway places. I don’t know anybody affected by this disaster, but still, it has been on my mind every day. It makes me aware of how fragile our lives are. From one moment to the next the unthinkable can happen and does happen to some people.

Monday was a lovely, warm spring day, the kind that makes you fall in love with life and the world around you. The explosion happened at 9 o’clock. Most people had already left for work, mainly pensioners and housewives starting the day. There was no warning as they were doing what they did every day, when for some the life ended abruptly and others found themselves injured and without a home. And while they now struggle with their pain and  all kinds of problems , our lives continue and it will not be long before something else captures our attention and the memory of that terrible Monday will slowly fade from our consciousness.

For those of you who would like to get an idea about the area that was destroyed by the explosion I have includes a link to a video from the local newspaper:

Explosion in Itzehoe

What North Germans talked about this week: Prokon, Traffic and the weather

Maybe you have heard about ‘Prokon’. It is a company financing and building wind power plants. It employs about 500 people in its office in Itzehoe. There have been rumors about the company’s business policies being questionable.

Last week ‘Prokon’ announced the danger of a planned insolvency and made it very clear that the reason for it are investors pulling out money. They appealed to  their investors to sign a statement that they would leave their money in the company until  October and  asked people who wanted to withdraw their money to sign a form stating  that they were aware they  were contributing to the company’s bankruptcy.

Of course there have been many discussions and comments in the newspapers  trying to answer the question, whether it Is  right to put that kind of moral pressure on investors. However, when people talk about ‘Prokon’ they talk about the decline of the area around Itzehoe.

One of the biggest employers in Itzehoe is ‘Prinovis’, one of five or six printing houses in Germany. “Geo” magazine, “Stern” and many other well-known magazines are printed in Itzehoe.’ Prinovis’ will close this year. About 1000  work places will be lost, and some estimate that 2.500 others are endangered. Some years ago the government withdrew the military sites in and around Itzehoe. Soldiers and their families left the region,  and another few thousand jobs were lost. The threat of another 500 jobs gone is indeed an alarming prospect.

Empty shops in the center of Itzehoe
Empty shops in the center of Itzehoe

Itzehoe is a rural center and could be a nice little town to visit. During the last months more and more shops have closed. This afternoon I counted 8 empty shops, and you can’t blame that on amazon, eBay and zalando alone. It is sad to see, how a to town and its surrounding are going down.







How the finished cover could look according to the "Hamburger Abendblatt"
How the finished cover could look according to the “Hamburger Abendblatt”

Another topic widely discussed  and talked about is the planned cover across the A 7. The A 7 is one of the most frequented motorways in Germany, going from the Danish border at Flensburg to the very South of Germany. In Hamburg the  A 7 turns into a 3.3 km long  tunnel going underneath  the river. The A 7 is notorious for its traffic jams. To change that there shall be a new lane on each side between the Elbtunnel and Bordesholm. The motorway running through the city shall get a cover  in three places. On top of the cover shall be parks, playgrounds and walkways. All existing lanes shall remain open while the building goes on, but  they will be narrower and there will be no place at the side for broken down vehicles.  Many people are afraid of even longer traffic jams, of building noises and accidents. Being stuck in traffic myself almost every morning I am not looking forward to the hustle with all that building, but in the long run it will be a huge improvement both for the traffic situation and for the quality of life of those who live close to the motorway. We commuters at work are already exchanging ideas which side route to take.






Of course, like everywhere in the world, people are talking about the weather. We have had a lot of rain, dark days without sunshine and very mild temperatures up to 12°C. Here and there you find things blooming, that shouldn’t and when walking across the lawn my heels disappear into the ground. Shall it get cold next week? Will we have frost, or even snow? Each day, when walking the dog, I discuss these questions with one neighbour or the other, I think it is great not to have any snow but if I should believe the radio forecast there is a chance of snow during the next days. Then it takes at least half an hour more to get to work as we all have forgotten how to handle a car when there is snow on the road.