One of my highest values is integrity. Lately I have been confronted with a number of situations, some of them quite serious, where others have demonstrated either a complete lack of integrity, or at the very least, a very low priority for acting with integrity. One example of this, I grant you a more minor example, has resulted in my now driving nearly as far as I can and still remain on Vashon, an island that is 13 miles long, 8 miles wide at its widest point, for a total of 37 square miles–slightly larger than Manhattan, and home to 10,624 people (2010 census).
Here’s what precipitated my situation. I get my hair cut and colored (rainbow swirl) every six weeks, and I’ve had the same stylist for a number of years. She worked at a salon in town, just a mile or so from my home. Six months ago she gave birth to her first child, a gorgeous little boy, and she took maternity leave. That’s when the drama began. The owner and other stylists at the salon where she was working began blackballing her, for reasons that remain a mystery. I was never told when she returned from maternity leave and so twice I had my hair done by a substitute stylist. While I was getting my hair cut and colored I had to listen to the rest of the stylists saying horrible lies about my stylist.
Finally my stylist, realizing that something was definitely amiss, began calling her clients directly and I wasn’t the only one to report on all the nasty things that were being said behind her back (that she was lazy, flaky, not responsive to inquiries about her return to work, etc.). To make a long story short, she is no longer at that studio, and in fact, thanks to the help of her very nice landlord, she now has a spot for her own salon right next to the home she and her boyfriend and their son live in. For her, it is an absolutely ideal spot.
Now for my dilemma. Her location is at the very north end of Vashon, nearly at the ferry dock. I have a long way (at least by my standards) to drive (about 10 miles). And last Friday, when I thought I had an appointment, I went to the new place for the first time. I was anxious, and my anxiety only grew as I wasn’t sure which house it was, or where I should park. As I was driving back and forth, a nice young man walked over and I asked for directions. He turned out to be my stylist’s boyfriend and so he showed me exactly where to go. However, there were several vehicles as well as a lot of stuff for an estate sale at the bottom of a very steep driveway, so I wasn’t sure I could turn around and get out. The boyfriend suggested backing down, something which years ago I could have done with my eyes practically closed, but no longer. So once he’d assured me that my car was safe where it was, I decided to walk down the driveway. I found that extremely challenging as it was steeper in the moment than it had looked, and I did not have my walking stick.
Finally, my stylist came out and showed me where her new office is, and we discovered why she wasn’t expecting me. She’d mis-copied the date from our text messages into her date book. Of course, by now I’m really stressed, but she was so dismayed at her mistake that my nurturing side took over and helped me. She had me down for yesterday, but that didn’t work for me, so we put me on the schedule for next Friday and meanwhile, she gave me a free hair cut. She would have done the color as well except that it hadn’t arrived yet. Then she explained exactly how they have things worked out for parking, and I’ll have no trouble now driving down the driveway, parking really close to her new salon, and then having plenty of room to turn around and drive back up.
It all worked out fine in the end, and while I don’t anticipate liking the drive, I only have to do it every six weeks. And I’ve set up my schedule so that I have my therapy appointment (another drive I consider long, but not as long) before my hair cut, and so I’m nearly half way there already.
I could have stayed with the salon in town as far as having someone who was capable of doing my hair. That would have been within my travel comfort zone and wouldn’t cause me stress and anxiety. However, back to the matter of integrity. I was absolutely unable even to consider such a plan because I would not have someone who was so unprofessional and just plain nasty working on my hair. I’ve changed a number of people in my life because they had questionable business or ethical practices, and so here again, I was taking a stand, even if that stand means that I have to go a lot further away from my home than I like. Integrity is a higher priority for me than my personal anxieties. Life is always making us choose, and this was one choice which was very easy to make, albeit much harder to execute. But I guess stretching my comfort zone to help out a really nice person is a good thing.