Paul McCartney, Vancouver, 2016
Getting a haircut, especially for most people that I know, has always been a routine and aggravating chore, however, in 1979, that changed and a small segment of time was captured, encoded, and embedded into an area of my brain that replays the event, without warning, in an endless and in a very pleasurable loop.
While a variety of forces contributed to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the disintegration of economies played the key role in driving its decline, and for some strange reason, this plagued my thoughts as I walked through the alleyways and abandoned lots of a nearly deserted small town in Oklahoma, and I made my way towards the only barbershop in the little community. I was expecting Bob, a seventy-something-year-old man with a slight hand tremor, but when I opened the door to step in, I saw a young, beautiful, sexy, blond bombshell of a woman who gazed up at me, and as if by miracle I suppose, she smiled and said, in her soft, yet poised voice, “Hi.” She exuded confidence.
I said, “I want a haircut.”
She said, “Well then, I’d love to give you a cut.”
I tried to fake a slight yawn in order to hide my dropped jaw.
“Looks like you’re up,” she said.
Her blue eyes pierced through her bangs and I stared back at her.
“Yes, I’m up.”
She had been sitting in the barber’s chair; her short skirt could blind most men – it’s like looking directly at the sun.
“Have a seat?” She asked as she rose and stood behind the chair.
“Sure. I don’t mind at all.”
The chair was still warm – a warmth that I hope to remember in my old age. I sat down and she covered me with that silky barber’s apron. I looked in the mirror on the wall and thought, “Who’s the luckiest man of all?”
My hair had grown to considerable length, and she combed it with her finger-tips and her pink painted fingernails gently scratched my scalp.
“I love to cut men’s hair – they aren’t picky, they’re not sensitive, they don’t get finicky, and they don’t complain.”
I could smell her breath.
“How do you want it cut?” she asked.
“I don’t care,” I said and once again my mind drifted to thoughts of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.
She bumped me. I wondered if she was trying to get my attention or if she was just nervous. She bumped me again and interrupted my train of thoughts on historic global economies.
“Excuse me,” she apologized.
We didn’t say anything else to each other and she continued to cut. Finally, she stood behind me and looked at me in the mirror and continued to smile, then she raised her eyebrows as if to say, “How’s that?” I nodded and smiled back. She took the apron off, dusted me off with that talcum-covered brush. I reached into my shirt pocket and I paid her.
I walked into that place thinking about great cultures collapsing and rebuilding and erecting new exciting monuments, and I walked out thinking, “I’ll never see her again,” but I wrong. I still see her in those haunting memories of youth, and of course and she stills smiles at me.