Tuesday, 16 September 2008


Lately I have been visiting barbers again. For years I avoided the barbershop due to the arrival in early 1960 of rebellious male hair growing. After I ceased reciting 'long hair good, short hair bad' there weren't all that many barbers left. But the same hairy revolution had spawned the unisex salon and it was possible to get a good cut that didn't resemble the cruel balding of the army recruit. One of the drawbacks of the unisex salon is that you have to make an appointment which we never had to do at the barber's.

Yesterday I was in Selwyn Graves where I have had my hair cut before. Selwyn's proud boast is that they have two chairs which means you don't have to make an appointment. They actually have three chairs now, it is just that the sign on the street outside the shop hasn't been updated yet. There was no one waiting on the bench but when I got right inside all three seats were occupied and it looked like all three customers had just begun their shearing.
I really, really hate waiting for anything - no matter how good or useful. I hate waiting at the doctors or the dentists. What was the point of making an appointment if the friggin' quack is late? Worse, I always, always, always arrive early out of courtesy. Oh maybe that part isn't true. Somebody told me once that if you arrive early and the next apointment hasn't arrived they let you go ahead. I don't know what parallel world that person lived in but I can assure you, dear reader, that no such reward ever followed my early arrival.

Back to the barber.I was able to plan my day all over again. Then I watched one by one the customers receiving the scissors and wondering who would soon be finished. Then I saw in the mirror facing me a static view of the barber to my left cutting a customer's head and also the back view of the girl assistant who had been sweeping the floor not two minutes ago. Of course I was looking at a highly realistic painting of the barber that I had not noticed before. I hadn't noticed the young lady sweeping the floor before either so that was two new things. No writer would say that was time wasted. It should have been three things but when I tried to see the signature of the painter I hurt my neck twisting round.

I ran out of a barber's in London where I had been sitting for over an hour waiting for a cut. As I hurried away I heard the shop's doorbell tinkling and a shout of anguish. I looked back and the barber was waving me back and pleading with me to return. I made up my mind to keep walking. He let out another pleading cry and I went back. What a performance.

1 comment:

Vanda Symon said...

But did the cut surpass the performance?