To look crisp for a family event scheduled weeks ago, I needed a haircut by 5:00 pm last Wednesday. Feeling cautious about COVID-19 in close quarters, I had delayed my séance with the shears for almost four months and, week after week until bedtime last Tuesday evening, there was always something more urgent that I needed to do.
I have for years had my hair cut on my way to work; the neighborhood two-chair no-appointments barber shop opens at 6:00 am and I like to be there when it opens. Of the three barbers who work there, I particularly like Mark, a 50-year barber, a legend in the neighborhood. He usually opens the shop. I’m not fond of the other two barbers’ work. One is a middle-aged “medium” skilled cutter and the other – I’ve concluded he trained for years to cut human hair by shearing sheep.
Which brings us to last Wednesday morning. Facing the Wednesday evening deadline, I left the house at 5:50 am to see Mark at the shop at 6:00 am. Not there. I checked the shop hours window sign – no change: “Open 6 to 6”. I waited 15 minutes. No Mark. Another ten minutes. No Mark.
I felt torn. I had to go; I had early morning business calls. There were no other shops open at that hour and I had no interest in training another barber to cut my hair.
I came back at noon. Mark wasn’t there. Barbers 2 and 3 were working with clients and there were four people waiting. I went back to work. I returned to the shop at 4:00 pm. Mark wasn’t there. Barber 2 was busy and Mr. Sheep Shear had an open chair. I peered in, through the door. “We’re closing at 4:30 today,” he said. “You can wait for Bob; if he finishes in time, he can take you, but we’re closing at 4:30. I can take you now, if you’d like.”
Somewhere, the sheep are having a good laugh.
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