Trim and Talk is an occasional series from the Mission’s salons.
Amidst the ridicule of Donald Trump’s unchallenged appointment with Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, the pieces are starting to fall. Univision has finally changed its all-day Juan Gabriel broadcast into criticism of the deposed finance minister, Luis Videgaray, and attention to the September 26 U.S. presidential debate.
Not that the staff at Sol y Luna Hair Salon at 3054 24th St. in San Francisco’s Mission District care a lot…yet.
Among screaming babies and conversations drowned by the sound of electric razors skimming over middle-aged men’s locks, hairdresser Erica Guillen, her hand still on my head for a trim, is the only one paying attention to the television.
The presence of Trump automatically generates a scoff from her.
“We’re not that worried, yet, but if he does get elected, then all hell will break loose in the Mission,” she says.
A native of San Carlos de Sonora in northwest Mexico, Guillen arrived in the Mission five years ago, giving her and her husband a certain stability — even if it wasn’t quite as stable as she imagined. “They told me that I was going to be sweeping dollars,” she recalls. “So far, I’m only sweeping hairs.”
Like many other Latinos in the district, she is not yet eligible to vote, but like others at Sol y Luna, she still takes an interest in politics.
She refers to Peña Nieto’s meeting with Trump as “the humiliation.”
“I think they paid him,” she says. “Trump must have paid him just to be seen with another country’s president.”
Closer to her home in the Mission, however, it is not politics that she mentions, but rising rents.
“A thousand dollars for a one bedroom apartment is too much,” she says seemingly unaware that it now costs $2,000 a month to rent a studio. “They’re gonna end up throwing us all out.”
Nearby, a young couple speaking Spanglish is helping the hairdressers keep their baby still for his first haircut. The husband, however, seems more interested in talking about Mexican soccer with one of the male hairdressers. Again, the conversation has its own brand of humiliation.
“No, no, we can’t lose three-nil at home,” he says in Spanish about America’s recent defeat to their classic rivals, Chivas de Guadalajara. “I can’t understand what’s going on through [coach] Ambriz’s head, and how long are they going to wait for him”.
Univision’s news broadcast swings from the forthcoming Cruz Azul-America to Donald Trump Jr’s threat of a massive Dreamers deportation. This time, it is the young soccer fan who scoffs.
The young man talking soccer leaves with his little boy as soon as the barber has clipped his hair into a haircut resembling the soccer superstars. His wife stays for a haircut and another round of grousing about rent.
“We’re just trying to make our way up, salir adelante,” she says, repeating the notion in Spanish.
Before she walks out, she promises the hairdresser in Spanglish she will return for more talk. “Voy a venir every Monday con el baby!”