Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sometimes It's Best to Trust the Pros

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
I'm a do-it-myselfer. The dryer broke last year. I researched it on Google, got the part I needed and fixed it myself -- or rather printed out the step by step guide and made Jayme fix it. We do our own yardwork, never hire a cleaning lady (don't I wish we would), we do our own taxes, paint our own walls, steam clean our own carpets, the plumbing gets clogged up -- that would be Jayme's job -- but I've also been the main hair cutter for my kids. I don't claim to know what I'm doing, but my kids aren't picky and it's always a special treat when I actually take them to a real hair stylist.

I goofed up last week, however. The boy needed a haircut and I attempted to give him one. He just turned 4 so sitting still for him is always a challenge. The mess he ended up with was straight from a sitcom. I was a bit ashamed to admit we needed help. I asked around and found out about an old place on Landa Street that many of the locals here have been going to their whole lives.

Walking into JD's Barber Shop is like stepping back 50 years. This place is packed with antiques -- antique waiting chairs, antique barber chairs, antique mirrors, antique coke machine. But they aren't decorated with antiques to be stylish and retro, everything's an antique because everything's just been there that long. Nobody greeted me when I entered, but the place was packed. We squeezed into a couple of chairs and looked around. Antlers on the ceiling, antlers on the walls, old issues of Field and Stream stared back at us. I turned to the nice lady next to me and asked "is there a sign in sheet?" "No" she said, "you just kind of remember who you were here before."

Okay, so we sat and waited. I coached the boy on how to sit still. "You see how still that boy is sitting in the chair," I said. "Can you sit still like him?"

"Yes," he tells me with a fierce look of concentration on his face. He had a mission. His job was to sit still and let the man cut his hair. His reward would be a sucker. Soon there was a call from the chair. "Next," a barber called out. We looked around. Several of the men made moves but then motioned to another. Everyone was so polite. Everyone was taking turns. A couple of men got up to take their places in the open chairs. We waited a few minutes more. A 9-year-old was in a chair. The barber asked him how many girlfriends he had. The boy blushed and answered "none." I should hope so.

Before long we heard it again. "Next." We were up. The boy hopped in the chair. I sheepishly went over the details of my failed attempt at cutting the boy's hair myself. The man didn't blink, he didn't judge, he went to work. A few snips of the scissors, a few clicks of my camera -- which is always by my side -- a few buzzes of the electric razor and -- boom -- he was done. A new little man sat before me. He never looked so grown up as he did just then. All fresh and trimmed with a big boy haircut and a serious expression of accomplishment. He had sat still. He knew it was time for his promised sucker. I did better than that. He got a sucker AND a happy meal.

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