Unequivocally Ambiguous

Humorous Stories on Parenting, Culture and Life

Motown, Fixing Haircuts and the Frailty of Life

by | Feb 19, 2024 | Life | 0 comments

Chronicles of a Difficult Haircut Part 3-Final (15/40)

I was in Cotati, a town ten minutes away from my house.

I go there because I like their grocery store, Oliver’s. Next to the store, I noticed one of those poles with red, white, and blue stripes.

On impulse, I decided that was going to be the next place I was going I would cut my hair in. Imagine the time savings if this worked out. At least once a month, I could get a haircut and buy oat milk, organic berries, and overnight oats. The dream!

I walked into the shop and asked the man there if I could get a haircut. He invited me to sit down. Once the cape was on, I realized his left arm was limb and attached to his side as if glued by Gorilla Glue.

Somehow, he brought his left arm up when needed, but most of the heavy haircutting was done with his right hand. After the pleasantries, he got comfortable, and we started talking. He asked me some questions.

“Where are you coming from?
“San Diego?”
“Oh, nice.”
“I lived there for a few years in the 80s.”
“Wow, look at all these gray hairs. It doesn’t matter. You are still very handsome.”

He walked around, and every time he completed the loop, he would start the same series of questions: “Where are you coming from? “San Diego?” “Oh, nice.” “I lived there for a few years in the 80s.” “Wow, look at all these gray hairs. It doesn’t matter. You are still very handsome.”

That sounds like something you would program a sex robot to say — not that I know how those things work, but I can only imagine.

You might’ve already gotten here, but it took me a second to put the whole thing together. My barber had probably suffered a stroke and was unable to form new memories while leaving the rest of his brain intact. He was able to remember to cut my hair and a couple of memories from the 80s in San Diego, but not the questions he was asking me in a loop.

I never went back. It wasn’t because he had a stroke or because he was asking me questions on a loop.

Honestly, if he had done a half-decent job cutting my hair, I would’ve put up with the same conversation over and over again. After all, “You are so handsome” is how I hope everyone would end their conversations with me.

But he didn’t.

I still had to run to Nuala to have her fix my hair.

I finally drummed up the courage to ask her if she could take me on as a patient, I mean, client.

When Nuala cuts my hair, she plays either bossa nova or Motown. She takes her time, and we trade stories of our upbringing, which seem remarkably similar even though she grew up in the Bay Area and me on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

In this last session, Nuala told me how she and my father-in-law, Rich, went to play volleyball at Golden Gate Park. They laid on the grass, watched the game, and waited their turn.

A branch broke off from a tree and landed between them. It missed them by two inches. Two inches that way, and it would’ve killed Rich. Two inches this way, and it would’ve killed Nuala.

I shiver at the thought.

If any of them would’ve died, nothing in my life would’ve looked the same.

To think that two inches was all that separated me from having someone who knew what to do with my three cowlicks.

I would still be looking for a barber.


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