"Small" writing challenges for my small writing talent. Hotel note pads are the only space allowed. Let's see if I can strip it down and tighten it up to learn something. Improving my skill of weird fiction.
I walked past the shop for thirteen years, looking inside every time. I always saw a properly groomed man of respectable appearance. His small shop had two waiting chairs. Today I walked into that tiny wood paneled barber shop with only space for myself between the chairs and his podium counter. I predicted the usual talk about the weather, the work, and the kids.
His dampened fingers worked through my overdo bushel of hair. I asked the first question this time. He told of cutting hair over forty years. By his own admission, “stumbling into the trade at fourteen.” His neighbors cut hair and he always hung around their shop, so they told him what it takes to get into the business. He did that and found himself at the airport thirty-five years ago in a brand new terminal. Now into his second new terminal, he had forty years of clientele. Not the usual people off the street mind you, but many travelling executives and airport management staff.
I felt the hairline shave begin with a layer of hot foam. Presidential candidates heatedly spouted off on the television. I know everyone we meet is more knowledgeable than any candidate is on television, but a barber, over such a period of time cutting management and the business class hair? He ought to know a thing or two about what makes the world tick. This man standing behind me has cut hair for as long as I am alive. Our conversation delved deeply across many topics on people and decisions of the world. I could not find any fault with his positions and observations of current events. I wonder what political elites can attribute decisions to a conversation with their own barber.
I find a typical cut from any neighborhood salon is an empty experience. I rarely see the same person. Forty years of haircuts have not evolved anything beyond weather and work questions. Kids. Weekend plans. Same answers to their prepared questions. Two girls. Have to work the weekend. Yes, it is unfortunate again. I have nothing to look forward to except a boring cut and they might get the length above my forehead right if I’m lucky.
A hot washcloth wiped clippings away from my ears, forehead and neck. The mirror did not lie. My uncontrollable hair once again restored to something not so woolly and frankly, perfect. One time I had a show shine at the Washington D.C. airport where I got an excellent shine and a lesson in Jesus from the man, but this was an artful masterclass in barbering. I’m forever spoiled.
(Author’s notes) June 10th, 2016.
Needless to say, I got a hair cut.