Sometimes I feel like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde– suffering from a split personality of sorts. One is a perfectly normal human being: a mother, wife, pet owner who loves gardening and nature, that being my “Dr. Jekyll”. Then there is “Mr. Hyde,” the groomer in me. Oh how Mr. Hyde struggles to get out. When I am in my salon, I always unleash Mr. Hyde and allow him to ‘do his thing’ i.e. brush, pluck, bath, clip, scissor…whatever it takes to get the job done.
One would think that would be enough for Mr. Hyde, but ohhhh no….it’s never enough for him. Once I leave the salon, it is a constant struggle to keep Mr. Hyde squashed down deep inside. For example, I just had the pleasure of giving an NAPCG Salon Creative workshop in Paradise, Newfoundland. As usual, my travels were quite adventurous and I ended up arriving a day late (Thank goodness I know myself and planned my trip with a day to spare.) Once I did arrive, workshop host Meghan Clarke and her wonderful husband Colin treated me to one of the highlights of my life.
We were all taken out on a boat to see humpback whales. Being able to witness them with my own eyes has always been a secret dream of mine that I never thought would come to fruition. I can’t hope to explain how excited I was! As we went out into the sea, I could taste the saltiness of the air and it was wonderful. The sensation of being carried by the waves often made it feel like we were on an amusement park ride. I glanced out at distant islands and watched puffins skim across the ocean surface. I was totally relaxed (Mr. Hyde was obviously napping somewhere) and it felt good.
Once we reached our destination, we were in for quite a treat: we saw not one but four whales, two of them being a mother and her calf. Words cannot describe the thrill. Four Humpback whales closed in on our boat. To be in the presence of an animal that is longer than a bus, weighs about twenty tons and could easily capsize our tiny boat if they so chose was breath-taking. The sheer size and mass of these creatures was amazing, yet they were so gentle and graceful in the water. They got closer until they were less than twenty feet from our boat. I was in awe as they did belly rolls right next to the boat and waved their huge tails in the air. There aren’t many times in my life that I have been speechless, but that was definitely one of them. Our whales even decided to check us out by poking their faces through the surface of the ocean and staring right back at us.
At that time, something happened that I didn’t expect: Mr. Hyde woke up. His arrival confused me. There were no dogs, cats, or any other creature that would need a bath and clippers, so why would he possibly rear his head? He whispered into my brain, ”Oh my! Look at those barnacles on that whale’s face!” I tried to stop him, I really did, but it was too late. He spotted those barnacles and would not let it go: “Wouldn’t that whale look so much neater without those crusty barnacles?”
“I wonder what grooming tool we would need to get those off with?”
“Are they painful to remove like ticks on a dog?” Yep, Mr. Hyde was now wide awake and ready to groom a humpback whale. Dr. Jeckyll tried to stay on top of things, but Hyde would not have it. “What about shampoo,” he asked, “what would one bath a 20 ton aquatic mammal with? Probably best to use something hypoallergenic and biodegradable.” There were even a few times that Mr. Hyde tried his best to get me to reach over the rail and just scrape one barnacle off to satisfy his obsessive needs. Thank goodness I managed to maintain control. I can see it now, a headline reading, “American Groomer Falls Into Ocean While Attempting to Scrape Barnacles From a Humpback Whale.”
I hear there is no cure for my dilemma; sadly, no medication or surgery that would remove Mr. Hyde. In all honesty, I don’t really want him gone. He serves a purpose in my salon and does an excellent job, but sometimes I really want him to just shut his mouth and let me enjoy the creatures I am lucky enough to share this world with…just sometimes.