Saturday, October 2, 2010

Two bits

Sometimes you can almost hear the gears change. Yesterday, Oct 1: humid, brooding, summer in a shoe. Then, after threatening morning glower, the rain came and meant it, sweeping away the night's Red Sox-Yankees game in a
GIT-outa-here downpour. Sending us to our beds with a book and a backdrop.

And today, October 2: behold, a clear, chilly morning! A new season befitting what we expect fall to be in these parts. Crisp. Sharp-edged. Changeworthy.

Time for a haircut.

My long-time barber, Teddy, I may have once mentioned, retired last year. Luckily, there was his former competitor Vincent a few blocks up the street—Teddy's match in skill and more than a hair faster, if not as quirky. But then Vincent's back gave out, forcing his retirement, too. After several weeks, my shaggy patience was rewarded when Vincent's son-in-law, Anthony, also a barber, stepped into the breach, dividing his days between his shop and Vincent's, saving me from Supercuts.

The conversation meandered and clipped through Red Sox and we're each doing (hanging in) Vincent's doing (mobility not so good, spirits luckily not so bad)...and eventually to barbering. I forget how we got there, something about trends, but I happened to reflect, half-jokingly, on how the Beatles must have impacted barbers. "A lot of shops closed," he said darkly. Then he recalled barbers who took it upon themselves to give their long-haired customers Army cuts, as punishment for their excess. Losing a customer in the process. He went on to recount how hairdressing grew with the barbers' slowness to adapt to newer styles. "They became like technical experts," he said, in contrast to the barbers who didn't even know how to use a hair dryer. Back in the old days, it was the barber who decided on the cut, often giving the same one to every customer. Now it was ten different cuts for ten different heads of hair...

More change in the air.

I took my new haircut down to the Mystic River, not far from the Nine Steps, with a good book (The Whistling Season) and a tree to sail it by. Around the newly elongated shadows of four o'clock, I stood up and went to check on the bees. None on the goldenrod. They'd moved on to the asters, those little frostflowers. But at least bees there were still.

Happy birthday, Groucho Marx, Bud Abbott, John Romano, Annie Liebovitz, and other Oct. 2 sons and daughters with a sense of the wry.

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