This is a quick comic strip that I drew after getting my hair cut in early December.
My hairdresser, Simon, is a good guy. I enjoy chatting to him, and I like to think he enjoys chatting to me, although I'm aware it's in his job description!
On this occasion I could tell that he was under a lot of pressure; a supplier kept phoning him, a member of staff was on a break, and - perhaps most significantly - it was December; presumably the busiest time of year for a hairdresser. Simon seemed tense, and understandably so.
I tried to chat like we normally do, but I noticed that I felt on edge too. Perhaps it was the commissioned portraits I haven't finished yet, or the Christmas shopping I haven't started, or the diary filling up with events this month, or the accumulative effect of them all.
Eventually I relaxed. I asked Simon about cycling, which I know he loves, and he opened up about that. Afterwards we wished each other a Happy Christmas. I left him a tip and he gave me some Christmas chocs. I devoured them the moment I got home.
That's the thing about the weeks before Christmas: It's so easy to get stressed out about all the things that need doing, but what really needs doing at this time of year is slowing down and conversation and laughter and kindness.
PS: Simon, who owns Now Hairdressers in Uckfield, has a white blonde quiff and impressive beard that I fear I have not done justice to in this comic strip. I can only hope that he forgives me if he sees this!
Richard Pettitt, cartoonist.