15 October 2012

Last Man In the Chair

The older I get the more I get my fucking hair cut. If I do not keep my hairy old self tidy I look like Jerry Garcia a moment or two before he overdosed. Phoned my barber near the time he usually locks up his shop. "I'll stay a little late if you need your cut that fucking bad," he told me. "It's not like I have a fucking life or anything."

I got there as his second to last customer of the day was walking out of his shop onto the wet sidewalk. He glanced at his marbled reflection in the window. Every man thinks he looks like a million bucks right after a haircut. A sign in his window read CLOSED in red letters. Closed until Tuesday.

I walked in, the old door's hinges squeaking behind me as the wind helped it tightly close.

"You're my last customer today Beer. Seems to me like you've never been here this late on a Saturday."

"Guess I am usually home having a beer right about now," I told him as I stepped through several previous customers' clippings and climbed into his shiny old leather and stainless chair.

As I did so my old barber looked to be getting himself a drink of water from the seldom used cooler in his shop's back corner. As he straightened himself I saw he had two beers in his imperceptibly shaking hands.

"Want one?" he asked.

"Fuck yes," I answered. "I didn't know you kept beer under there."

"Every barber has his stash," he informed me. "It's for when I have had a customer who is a real asshole, like that last motherfucker. Used to be men would all come in here and talk. Now half of them are like that cocksucker. Sit there fucking with their fucking phones the whole time I am working on them like god damn zombies."

"Assholes," I agreed as I tilted half the dewy bottle into the bottomless beer pit of my gut.

"Used to be I knew a little of everything that went on in this shitfucking town from listening to my customers. Now I don't know shit. People used to interact, you know, in person."

I have been going to the same barber for so long now the only time I ever remind him how I want my hair cut is if I am getting it done before I go south for a winter vacation. My barber knows me and I know my barber. Now that I know he has a beer stash in his shop I am beginning to think we are more alike than I figured.

We were onto our second beer now. Or should I say my second. Fuck knows how many beers my barber had downed to cope with his phone happy motherfucking customers.

"The other thing that's changed," my barber was on a roll now, "is how men care so much about what they are wearing and shit. Everybody thinks the brands of shit they wear says something about them. Brands did not mean shit twenty years ago. What mattered was what a man stood for - not how much his jeans cost."

This went on for a while. We both agreed men, who used to know how to be men (because being a man used to be easy), do not know how to be men any more. Men have become a bunch of phone twiddling zombie cocksuckers.

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