Alternate Realities and Insular Perspectives

There are times when I question my chosen profession. A lot of late nights fixing the results of sub-optimal decision-making. Sometimes it's no wonder. A recent local lawsuit is a case in point. The names from this excerpt from the Oregonian have been omitted.
"This is a case about hair," said attorney .......

More to the point, the case is about the hair that isn't on the head of .......... explained this week to a Clackamas County jury.

......., 36, is suing ........, a high-class salon and spa in Lake Oswego, where a stylist bleached (said person's).... hair to the platinum shade that defined her signature look. She wants $50,000 for humiliation, depression and the cost of hair extensions.
Signature look? Pliny's signature look is a rumpled shirt, two day old beard, well worn shoes and some casual slacks - wouldn't require anything like $50,000 to restore at least.

A bit of background. Lake Oswego is one of those places that looks gorgeous as long as you don't look too close - at any level. The signature lake itself has been declared dead by state biologists. At this point it is believed to be more sterile than the primordial ocean. This is due to the runoff of years of chemicals used by the locals to keep up appearances and preternaturally green yards.

It's a place where a number of wealthy contractors and developers sue anyone who even threatens to disturb their faux bucolic surroundings using money they earned defacing other neighborhoods in the city with hideous infill houses and cheaply built condos. I guess you figured out I'm not a fan...

The litigant in this case has been bleaching her hair since she was 9 years old (after her mom reportedly told her she was unattractive with her dirty blond locks.... So she has been abusing her hair for 25 years in order to maintain her self image. It finally broke off in protest (a couple of inches off her scalp). But she sued a salon after she was dissatisfied with a $30,000 nonbinding arbitration because of the extreme emotional stress of it all.

She sued for the $50,000 dollars - she lost this week. The jury awarded her - nothing. She of course is completely beside herself with the injustice of it all.

Normally I would just roll my eyes and start reading the next article in the paper, but an experience yesterday gave me pause.

I was stuck in the 7th circle of hell for several hours - i.e., the Dallas airport. As per usual my connecting flight out of Fayetteville Arkansas was screwed up and I was stranded for several hours to await my earliest opportunity to be shoehorned into a seat that is smaller than an infant car seat. Oh well, that is the cost of modern air travel and it's probably better than traveling by Conestoga wagon and getting caught in Donner Pass.... At least after TSA was done with me I can rest assured that my colon is in good health.

Ok, enough griping. While eating lunch I noticed that there were hundreds of soldiers in the terminal all on their way to report for duty. They looked and were really young and were all very polite and well mannered. I was in the serving line of one of the food court places when I noticed a group of 4 soldiers counting up the cost of some food to see what they could afford to eat. These guys were reservists heading off to training and deployment. And they didn't have enough money to buy a decent lunch. I couldn't believe it. Talking to a noncom I learned that they don't get much travel money and have a hard time getting by sometimes.

We got 'em fed and on their way and they were extremely appreciative. I hope they all make it home safe. We got some more troopers fed on the plane and again they were very appreciative. It was an easy thing to do, but they seemed to be important to them that people gave a rat about them even in a very small way.

If you run into any soldiers heading for deployment, please consider buying them a burger or whatever if you are able. They are young people and much is being demanded of them. It isn't much to simply acknowledge them a bit if you can spare a few bucks. Or whatever else you can think of.

So what's the point? I guess it's that we can get caught up in all sorts of trivial conflicts and lose sight of the big picture. If you live in an insular world it's easy to have a Marie Antoinette perspective. I'll bet that this person with the hair really was upset by it all, and bully for her that this is the worst thing that has ever happened to her. I know from experience it is far from the worst thing I've seen this week and far better than the worst that awaits those kids...


pboyfloyd said...

WTF? It's hard to believe that soldiers can't afford to feed themselves.

Actually it's hard to believe that they are EXPECTED to feed themselves.

Is it not possible that they blew all their money on booze, broads and gambling?

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

pboy: I thought of that, but they are in transit and not able to get anywhere where they can spend money other than the airport.
Something I learned a while back from people I knew who were deploying is that the soldiers get charged (docked pay) for a lot of their equipment, boots etc. Pretty amazing.

Asylum Seeker said...

That's pretty screwed up that they were unable to afford a meal for themselves. I would like to think that even if you hadn't come along, someone else would've had the heart to do the same as you did and give 'em a meal. It's a pretty easy to "support our troops", if given the opportunity, don't you think?

As for the woman who continually dyed her hair and had it wind up damaged as a result: how could she be unaware that that was a possible risk? I can understand, if she was unaware of it, why she would reflexively try to lay blame on the hairdresser, but I am just glad that her lawsuit didn't succeed. The litigation, it's killing us all...

Stacy S. said...

Oh sure ... post something that I have to comment on (sigh - don't u know that I just like to read??)

OK - the facts - just the facts...

When I retired, I made just under $1000 per month - BUT - I received extra money for rent "off base" and food because I was married -- all of that was tax free.

Most E5's and below are eligible for food stamps.

You are given an entire wardrobe when you enter the military and a couple of hundred extra bucks each year to replenish items. (No - it's not always enough)

You get per diem when you travel. (Again, not always enough)

The hours worked are atrocious(sp?)80, 100 per week at times. Depending whether or not you have "duty". (no overtime)

And - it sucks when bases are closed. It means that you are going to have to move again.

P.S. Mrs. Pliney told me to tell you to shave. ;-)

Michael Lockridge said...

Thank you for honoring my brothers and sisters in arms. As a veteran of another era I appreciate your generosity and sensitivity. I retain a bond with those who serve, and I am much encouraged by your kindness.