Sunday, May 31, 2009
I used to live in a tiny flat above a barber’s shop. The rent was cheap and it was close to my job, but the only way to get to my flat was through the salon. No matter what time of day, the cast never seemed to change: three old men lying back in the barber’s chairs, the barber moving slowly between all three. I’d stop and watch sometimes, when I had nowhere to be particularly quickly, and I’d shoot the breeze with the barber and his clients, letting them complain at me about sport and politics, and I’d lean on the magazine rack and agree. Eventually, the smell of old aftershave and beard clippings became more of a home than my home. I liked the old guys, their faded faces in the mirrors, the predictability of it all. Soon I stopped leaning on the magazine rack and took out a broom. Then I started washing the razors, dipping them in the old tub of disinfectant, sitting on the barber’s stool, drying the blades with an old soft cloth. It just felt right, I guess, when the barber finally handed me a pair of scissors, made a circling motion with his hands.