748195_web_R_K_B_by_I-vista_pixelio.deI go to the hairdresser a few times a year. My hairdresser Mauro is an Italian “magician”, who gives every one of his female customers the feeling of being a queen. That is pleasant and feels great.

I was there last Saturday. Mauro was charming as usual. He greeted me like a family friend who he had not seen for a long time and cared as if I were the most important person in the world. Usually I use the time at the hairdresser to read specialist literature but this time it was hardly possible. The shop is a large light room, where up to five customers find space. There were just three customers including myself but the lady next to me was so loud and talking without interruption that it was hardly possible to concentrate on what I read.

Yes, I know, that over the years one can build a rather close relationship with one’s hairdresser and can know several things about each other. I know about Mauro’s two sons and also about his recently renovated holiday apartment in the mountains. But I as an uninvolved am not interested in details of married life, conflicts with neighbours or schools or other personal crisis of other female customers. Just, if the noise level is too high, no one can elude in that tiny room.

As so often, I solved the issue with earplugs but honestly, those were only able to baffle the wave of intrusive words but not to eliminate them.

I can remember how back then, not even 20 years old, I was travelling with a group of friends of the same age by train. There were six of us. The train compartment was for eight people and next to us sat two unknown men. Since we then often discussed books together, one of our friends suggested reading some central chapters from the book Catch 22* and to then discuss them. It was an exciting reading. After about 20 minutes suddenly one of the two men said, “Please stop immediately. I cannot listen any longer.” We were all astonished but at the same time shocked. Our reader closed the book and silence spread in our compartment.

This is decades ago, but I can still remember the situation as if it had been yesterday. Yes, the spoken word may be hurting or harassing, even if it is not directed towards oneself personally.

Thus, do us the favour and when you are sitting in the tram or the bus, don’t call home in order to say that you are sitting in the bus or tram and will be home in 20 minutes. Use WhatsApp. Your environment will be thankful.

Catch 22 is the first book written by Joseph Heller about the absurdity of war. Captain John Yossarian tried to obtain a medical discharge in order to return home. However, for paradoxical reasons, an obscure regulation called Catch 22 made it impossible for him to do so.


Bildquelle: l-vista /

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