A Clean Cut and a Piece of Land

I went to get a haircut today.

It had been awhile.

Besides being too lazy and broke to go too often, I always feel awkward getting my haircut, some stranger hovering over you and touching you, that hospital-like gown they make you wear. I’m not a massage kinda guy either. You know how horrifying it was to get your hair cut the first time, it’s still like that for me.

I just cover it up now and don’t scream and shout.

So because of these strange and varrying factors it had been a while. In fact when I went to use a coupon I received on my last visit the girl at the counter handed it back to me and told me it was expired. I looked down and saw that, true enough, it had expired almost two months ago.

You can see I was long overdue.

Anyway, before any of that happened I had to get the haircut. So the girl who later told me my coupon was expired called out for Lisa, told her she had a customer. Lisa spun around from where she was stationed in front of a computer. She shut down the Myspace page she had been looking at and greeted me, “oh, hi again.”

I didn’t recognize her so I was caught off guard that she had recognized me, so I tried to cover it up. “Oh, you cut my hair last time, right?”


Immediately, inexplicably, I felt embarrassed for the condition my hair was in. It was too long; brittle, scraggly strings were creeping down the back of my neck like bougainvillea, a fact I avoided by never having to partake in the viewing of the back of my head, and my bangs were molesting my eyes, a crime illustrated by my need to blow them off of my eyebrows every ten seconds. The hair around the ears was uneven because I had cut it myself with the sideburn portion of my razor, in other words, my do’ was a total mess.

It made no sense but I felt like she had entrusted me to hold on to, and take care of, a valuable art project of hers and I let her down; returning with her statue melted and defaced, her painting with a tear in the middle smelling like dog urine.

I could see her looking upon her previous work with less than pride.

I wished I had gotten a different person. Why hadn’t the girl called out for Mike or Susan, someone who couldn’t judge me for how long it’s been since I’ve been in, or how I’ve tried to trim back my bangs with the same pair of scissors I use to open up bags of vegetables.

Last time she had seen me my hair was nice and short. I must have been a disappointment walking in there.

I sat in the chair with a guilty grin and told her I was growing my hair out. She looked at me appropriately baffled.

“I need the sides trimmed, though, and maybe the bangs,” I elaborated. “The neck, I’m sure, is unconscionable.”

It was a strange choice of words, I admit, but the look she gave me was like I had just admitted to intentionally running over a puppy on the way here, and that I would have made it sooner but I had to reverse over it to make sure it was dead.

She shrugged. “Okay. No sweat.”

She commenced with the snipping and cutting and scraping. She uses an old-fashion barber’s razor on my neck, that’s where the scraping comes in. It gets it off nice and clean.

I joked, “you do it old school, huh?”

She obliged me with a quick, almost condescending, chuckle. “Yeah.”

While she continued doing her thing I stared at the floor, at her tools on the counter, and at the calculatedly-placed rock & roll posters on the wall, anywhere but at my reflection in the mirror.

I hate watching myself get a haircut. I look captured, terrified.

Thankfully, ten minutes later I was out of the chair, my hair looking nice and cropped, handing the girl at the counter an expired coupon. After that small embarrassing impediment, I paid up and on my way out told Lisa thanks.

“See ya next time,” she hollered back, looking over her shoulder, the pink Myspace page returning to the screen.

Walking out, the blinding sun fractured my eyes and I quickly dug into my shirt pocket for my shades to protect them from the glare. It’s the first time in a long while I’ve seen the same person for a haircut twice in a row, since I used to go to Roy the barber, with my dad, in the late 80’s.

At first it was weird… I was weird, but now I realize it’s better. She knows the topography of my scalp. The wonky spots and all.

It’s a nice feeling knowing your barber knows your hair, it’s comforting.

Although I don’t know if Lisa would like being called a barber, nevertheless my hair is now hers to deal with every couple of months.

Afterwards I went to the nursery and picked up some new plants for my balcony.

I had two jasmine plants going but I killed one of them and the other is on a ventilator and doesn’t have much time left, the chaplain is hovering, oh that’s just a bee, anyway…

It’s a hot balcony, the sun is anything but subtle out there in the mornings. Putting it lightly, it’s a tough neighborhood for plants: the Oakland of orchids, Detroit of dandelions.

My wife loves lavender and it was only $8 at Armstrong’s so I scooped it up along with some cacti I needed.

There it is to the left. Pretty. Fragrant.


To surround the lavender and give it some contrast, I got some plants with little white flowers to cover the ground.

Their name escapes me, and frankly, never interested me.

There’s not a lot of room out on the balcony either. It’s only about two feet wide, maybe eight feet long. I wish I could say I’m hopeful they’re going to take off and flourish in their new home, but I just don’t know.

I go out there in the morning with coffee and a book sometimes. I would love to have the fresh smell of lavender accompany me.

I’ve been thinking about growing my own herbs lately too: basil, thyme, maybe cilantro.

Man, I yearn for land.

I don’t need a lot. Just a spot to drop some tomatoes. Maybe a little lawn for the sheep dog to roll around on.

While I dream for some land I wonder if that land dreams for me.


When you’re in your little room,
and you’re working on something good.
But if it’s really good,
you’re gonna need a bigger room.

And when you’re in the bigger room,
you might not know what to do.
You might have to think of, how you got started,
sitting in your little room.
——- Jack White


3 thoughts on “A Clean Cut and a Piece of Land

  1. oh boy, things are slow in the art world. Ur story reminds me when I captured myself in my tiny bathroom half drunk and utterly disgusted with the cactus in y down stairs region (yes, my pubie area)

  2. oh boy, things are slow in the art world. Ur story reminds me of when I captured myself in my tiny bathroom half drunk and utterly disgusted with the cactus in my down stairs region (yes, my pubie area) and I half-heartedly gave myself a baby cut that ended up disastorous for those that would later tender to my love patch. I cut unevenly wuth sum scizzys -took a shot of head and shoulders- and busted out the clippers. I’m lucky I still have a ball. Haircuts are funny!

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