It strikes me that competent people, skilful, able people, have certain things in common. In private life they may be a mass of insecurities. They may get rattled, and call the cat a furry pest, and shriek at the sight of a large spider, and agonise over the tops of their thighs, but get them into their own sphere, and that falls away. They become calm, confident. They have a certain authority which rubs off on others and gives them a genuine liberty. In that sphere, and often there alone, they rise up like soaring eagles, and others are drawn along in the slip-stream to explore their own individuality.
And it can be any sphere. The surgeon, the artist, the priest at the altar. One sees it at once, or rather, those who know anything about the area in question see it. There will, of course, be those who are blinded to art, and do not recognise excellence, because it comes from a potter and not a performance artist, or those totally deaf to the rhythms of liturgy, or…
But if one cultivates a certain sensitivity, it appears. And the encouragement of excellence in others – not sloppy anything-goes-ness, which true excellence can rarely tolerate, but high-achieving individuality -is a very good prognostication of its presence. Hence, it was with rising hope that today I realised that the hairdressers in the salon all sported very different hair styles, and dress styles. That I realised my stylist, after an initial consultation, and then an exasperated: ‘There are about four different hair styles in here fighting to get out!’ was working in silence and concentration.
At last, I have something at least resembling a hair style, though apparently the cutting into my fringe will simple have to grow out and will take time. I even paid the absurd bill with a grateful smile.