Tag Archives: Haircuts

New Year’s Resolution

Happy New Year’s Day everybody. Wow. A whole new year. What is a year? It’s funny to think about how we measure time, planetary rotations around the sun. What if some day we set up a colony on Mars? Will they follow our Earth calendar or will they have something unique? How will people on both planets coordinate interplanetary vacations? I’m sure it won’t be impossible, but it won’t be as easy as just randomly deciding to blast off this time next year. Because, this time next year, what, Earth? Mars?

Did you know that on one of Saturn’s moon, Europa, a year lasts only twenty-one days? What if we set up colonies there, will people live to be like five thousand years old? I didn’t even look that up, by the way, that Europa fact. You know how I knew it? I didn’t. I just made it up. You really shouldn’t just go around blindly believing everything you read on the Internet. That could maybe be one of your New Year’s resolutions. Not to just accept total bullshit as fact.

One of my resolutions is to only write true stuff on this blog, from now on. Not that I ever write anything fake. Only strictly seriously serious stuff here, like the title of the blog says. But now it’s official, now it’s a resolution. I mean, that whole Europa thing was just a clever trick, to get you to see how gullible you really are. If you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “Well I wasn’t convinced,” I hope you take comfort in telling that to yourself, but we both know you believed me, if only just a little bit. I’m not even sure if Europa is one of Jupiter or Saturn’s moons. Not that it really matters.

But I have to think of more resolutions. I can’t just have one. And this is really all my fault, because last year I made a really half-baked resolution, that next year, which is now this year, I’d make several New Year’s resolutions. So I got off the hook last year, but sure enough, and I knew this would happen, it’s come around to bite me in the ass here. I guess I could just make several resolutions, each one promising even more resolutions for future years. Like one resolution could be that next year I’ll make five resolutions. And then another resolution could be that in 2015 I’ll make ten resolutions. And, now that I’m thinking about it, that seems like a pretty decent plan.

No, I can’t do it, I’ll just be hurting even more next year when I not only have to make five resolutions, but I’ll be stuck, unable to resolve to make more resolutions for years to come. Because I’m going to run out of future years eventually. I guess I could just assume that I’ll live to be two hundred. But I don’t want to die with all of these unfulfilled resolutions. I should just bite the bullet and do it, right now, make more resolutions.

OK, so, how about, I resolve to … to what? What’s the point? What do I need a resolution for? I’m already doing great. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Man, but then I’m not fulfilling last year’s. Geez, I’m in quite the pickle. I guess I could resolve to get a haircut next week. Not this week. I think I’m busy this week. But definitely next week. This is going to be tricky, because getting a haircut, that’s something that I’m always forgetting to do. I get out of the shower, I’ll look at my hair and think, wow Rob, time to get a haircut. But I won’t. The next thing I know I’ll be going to bed, like the whole day flew by and I didn’t even think twice about getting a haircut.

I always leave it until it gets so unruly that somebody eventually says to me, usually my boss or somebody else who’s “in charge” or me, they’ll go, “Gee Rob, getting about time for a haircut, no?” And I could go on forever about how I hate being told to do things in the form of a question, about saying a sentence and then finishing it with the whole, “no?” like it’s a suggestion, or a question. But even though I’m angry, I’ll be like, shit, I must look crazy. I have to get a haircut right this second. And I’ll get one and I’ll look so dramatically clean-cut, especially considering how bad it looked.

Regardless, this is why I never get a haircut until the last second. I never think about it. I always get bossed around. And then I actually love all of the compliments I get, “nice haircut!” which wouldn’t be there if I got it cut regularly enough so that my hair always looked the same length.

Fuck it, I’ll try to get a haircut next week, but I’m not making that a New Year’s resolution. Too easy to forget. Too easy to start 2013 on the wrong foot, on having already broken a New Year’s pledge. Nah, I’ll just do what I said earlier, resolve five for next year and then another resolution for ten in 2015. Whatever. Happy New Year’s. I hope your year is great, almost as great as I hope mine is, just slightly less great than mine, good enough really.

If you can’t take the heat, sit around and squirm and complain about how uncomfortable you are

I woke up the other day in such a cranky mood. Whenever I’m at this level of cranky, it’s so easy to just sit around and bitch about everything, like every single thing. And I don’t want to, because I don’t want to feed this really annoying side of me that’s able to just look around at his life and find five billion reasons to get pissed off at everything. But I’m going to make an exception here, because I’m really, really agitated right now and, hopefully by getting it out here, I can kind of just work through all of the crazy.

Whenever I start feeling like this, I know that the problem lies with me, even though it might feel like the world is against me. I also know that, once I recognize that I’m in a crazy heightened state of being annoyed, it’s only going to probably get worse before it gets better. Anyway, I woke up this morning right in the middle of this very, very clear dream where I was working at the restaurant that I used to work at when I was in high school. It was one of those dreams where I had a million things to do, but try as I might, I couldn’t even manage to do one task without making a ton of mistakes. It was a feeling like when you’re in a pool, underwater, and you’re trying to run, and even though you’re telling your body to run, even though your body feels like it’s running, like you’re using all of the same muscles that you would normally use to run, you look around, and you’re not moving at all.

And I woke up. And it was like a hundred and ten degrees that day. So I’m just gross and groggy and carrying around this palpable sense of frustration over from, what, from a dream? It doesn’t make any sense and I try to shake it off, but it won’t shake. I go downstairs to let my dog out and the heat, which is oppressive indoors, is totally damning from the minute I step out the front door. And it’s so hot that my dog is fighting me. He doesn’t want to go outside. I don’t either, but I need him to just stop struggling and make this as painless as possible. But he does the opposite and makes it as difficult as possible. On a normal day this is the worst part of the morning routine, and now I’ve got this pain in the ass dog making it take like four times longer than it normally should.

I can feel the sunburn from being outside for only five minutes or so. I make a pot of coffee. I make some oatmeal. I wish these things could just appear in the morning, because they are as basic as basic nutrition goes, and although I need them when I wake up, I really don’t think that they are worth the ten to fifteen minutes that I have to spend getting them ready. I finally sit down to the computer and start writing. But after like a minute I’m already sweating profusely. I’m always bragging to everyone about how I don’t need air conditioning, how I’m so much more resilient to heat than everybody else, but this is crazy. The bottoms of my shorts are soaked just from being pressed in between my legs and the chair. There are drops of perspiration rolling down my body as if I’m standing under some non-existent shower. So I make a move for the AC.

I turn the knob but there’s no response. Nothing. Not even like a failed start-up sound. There’s absolutely no indication that my turning the knob had any affect whatsoever. Is it plugged in? Yes. I unplug it, which is a pain in the ass, because the chord is so short and old and it feels like it hasn’t been unplugged in forever. I plug it back in. Nothing. I don’t know what I hoped to accomplish there, but nothing happened anyway. I go downstairs to the fuse box. I know absolutely nothing about electricity or electrical work. In fact, any time a problem like this comes up, I somehow convince myself that I’m going to wind up accidentally electrocuting and killing myself just by trying to figure out the problem. I take one look at the fuse box and I’m convinced that as soon as I touch it, I’ll zap myself to oblivion.

The fuse box is clearly labeled, and one of the labels says just AC. I’m optimistic now, because it looks like the AC has its own separate fuse. So if I test it, that means that I won’t turn off every appliance in the kitchen, which is always super annoying because everything beeps as it comes back on, and then you have to reset the times and it’s just a huge annoying hassle that’s so tedious, that I know that I’ll just wind up leaving them all blinking 12:00 rather than actually having to deal with them. But I’m still afraid of touching the fuse box. I hold my breath and turn the AC button off. No shock. Whew. Then I turn it back on. Immediately the microwave, coffee machine, and oven timer start beeping. Goddamn it! Why couldn’t it have been labeled AC/Kitchen? Would that have been so difficult? What were the previous residents suffering from some sort of a label shortage? I’m muttering out loud waste-of-breath profanities, like “motherfucker, stupid piece of shit goddamn,” like saying these bad words are going to somehow fix something or make me feel better or stop me from continuing down this path of spiraling negativity which is quickly clouding my already rotten mood into something much darker, much more sinister.

And I really do hate being trapped in a mood like this. Because I’m still a few hours away from even acknowledging to myself how bad of a mood I’m in. Right now I’m just soaking it in, feeling bad for myself, justified in my ever growing contempt for my surroundings. So I sit at my computer and start to write and I can’t think of anything to write about because the sweat from my forehead has accumulated so much that it’s bypassing my eyebrows and stinging my eyes. And I have huge eyebrows, so this is a lot of sweat. And why isn’t my coffee ready yet? My body is screaming for caffeine. I look over at the pot but, oh yeah, I reset every appliance in the kitchen and that included the coffee machine that I had just turned on to brew right before I set out to look for the fuse box, good job you stupid idiot.

Finally, coffee done, oatmeal ingested. Why the hell am I still drinking three cups of hot coffee on such a hot day? At what point in my life did three cups of coffee become so necessary to my starting the day? It’s not helping. I’m just increasing the overall temperature of my body. Homeostasis interrupted, even if the definition of homeostasis is being used correctly here, not that I have any intention of looking it up. Just keep typing Rob, think of something to type about. I can’t. My laptop is so hot that it’s buzzing really loudly and my wrists are getting so hot that I can just feel the blood passing through my hands and over my laptop and becoming irradiated from all of the extra radioactive computer heat, the heat that’s always there, even when it’s cool, microwaving my body, my eyes, my wrists. OK, I’ll drink a glass of water. OK, you know what? Maybe I can’t write in the kitchen today. Maybe I’ll go upstairs and write on the desktop.

I never write on the desktop, rarely, anyway. But there’s a ceiling fan upstairs and it’s better than nothing. But, oh wait, the ceiling fan is making this stupid noise, with every rotation, a chk, chk, chk, chk, over and over again. I stop writing. I haven’t even started yet. I stop myself from even starting my writing to turn off the fan and open it up. I had to find a screwdriver. I’m wasting so much time. I have to go to work tonight. So I open it up and tighten everything and unwind the chain that somehow got rotated around the middle like three times and, have I already mentioned how deathly afraid I am of taking apart and operating on something even remotely having to do with electricity? I put it back together. Much better. I can’t believe that worked, actually.

So I’m writing now on this different computer. The keys are a lot stiffer. I feel like I’m doing finger Pilates here just trying to type. I keep misspelling certain words over and over again, words that I never misspell on my laptop downstairs. And why is the typing off? Are the margins different on this version of Word? Yeah, they are. Hold on, I know I need to write, but let’s just go on the Internet and find out how to fix the margins. I know to fix margins, but I’d like to have it so they’re automatically fixed every time I open up Word, without having to fix them every single time, when I start a new document, I have to change the settings, I’m getting more and more annoyed every second and my wrists are still sweating and sticking to the desk, there is no relief, the ceiling fan is circulating hot air, like an oven, like a convection oven, like a convection oven within a microwave oven turned up to level eleven operating on the surface of the sun, but not our sun, an even hotter sun, one of those white dwarfs, and my shorts are even wetter, I just feel so disgusting.

I go to the bathroom. I’m freaking out. I look in the mirror and splash cold water on my face. Somebody at work made a crack about my eyebrows a week ago and since then they are all that I can see, in the mirror, on myself, on everyone else. Just eyebrows. I’m just a huge pair of eyebrows living in a society completely overrun by eyebrows. I look at my nose hair trimmer. Every fiber of my being is telling me not to touch my nose hair trimmer. My hands are ignoring me. Come on, Rob, every once in a while you’ll see a crazy guy who decided to trim his own eyebrows and he looks just nuts, crazy and surprised. Don’t do it. But my hands go for it. Just a little bit. That’s not so hard. That’s not so bad. Now I just have to do the other eyebrow. Actually, that one’s not so bad either. But they look slightly different. I try to make the same motion with my left hand on my right eyebrow that I did with my right hand on my left eyebrow. But I’m not ambidextrous. This is crazy. What was I thinking?

I need a haircut. It’ll just frame the whole thing in such a way that’s not as dramatic looking. I ride my bike. It’s like ten blocks away. I didn’t have time to shampoo my hair, because every time I go to the barber they always ask me if I want to shampoo my hair, and I always say no, because I just want a haircut, nothing else. But I’m always super self-conscious, like are they not offering? Are they asking, begging, imploring? Please, please let us wash your dirty hair before you make us run our combs, our fingers through it. Please. But I always say no. I always at least try to take a shower beforehand. But that’s crazy, because after a haircut there are always a million little hairs stuck in my head and the only way to get it clean is to take another shower. How many times am I supposed to shower today?

The lady at the front always asks me who cuts my hair. And I always say, I don’t care, whoever’s free. And this guy comes out of nowhere than I’ve never seen before, and he reeks of cigarettes, and I tell him I want a number two haircut. And he goes OK, everywhere, number two, right? Wrong. This guy can’t even understand me. And he’s giving me a haircut. And I’m sitting there squirming because it’s so hot and the AC isn’t on, and I feel drops of sweat coming down my legs. And I’m covered in this nylon plastic synthetic tarp thing and it’s just making my whole body temperature rise by all of these degrees and finally he says he’s done, but it doesn’t look like he’s done. So I ask him, is that it? What about the sides? And he says, no it’s fine, that’s it. Really? I ask him, really? So he looks visibly annoyed and puts the oven tarp back on me and I’m thinking, shit, now I’ve pissed him off, he’s as hot as I am, sitting here, cutting hair in this heat. Their AC must be out also. And he’s going to make me pay for it. Why did I come in today? So stupid. I tell him it’s fine, throw some money at him, and make a break for it.

But I’m pissed. I’m so annoyed. I haven’t gotten any work done today. And I have to go to work soon. And I haven’t eaten anything. You know what? I’ll just grab a sandwich while I’m out. So I lock my bike up again and go into a deli, and there’s not much of a line, so this shouldn’t take too long. So I’m waiting, and the whole one side is a mirror, and I can’t stop looking at myself, at my botched haircut, at my ridiculous homemade eyebrows, and the front of my shirt is getting these sweat patches, but they’re not even at all, it’s like I’ve been hit with a series of water balloons, but from the inside. And it’s so. Hot. Outside. I’m So. Hot.

And there are two women in front of me. And there are two deli people making sandwiches. And the first woman asks for a sample of some hot soup. Hot soup? I’m thinking to myself, you’re crazy! Get something cold! You’re nuts! And the deli guy is thinking this also, because I’m seeing him reluctantly grab a little ramekin and very slowly he opens the soup container, and he’s hit directly with this wall of steam on this hot, hot, hot day, and he has to put his hand inside and grab a sample’s worth of soup. And she takes it and tastes it, and tastes it, and smacks her lips together, and thinks about, what does this taste like? What am I tasting here? It’s soup. Do I like this soup? Can I see myself eating a whole serving of it? I don’t know. Let me smack my lips together a little more, let me really just let the flavor sink in for a second. You know what? I think I’m just going to have a sandwich. On a bagel. Scooped out and toasted.

And somewhere on the way home I realized how bad of a mood I’m in and that things shouldn’t really, can’t really be this bad. My life isn’t bad at all. For some reason my body is just reacting to a series of uncomfortable stimuli and it doesn’t know how to handle them all at once, and so my brain gets frustrated and I start to complain and the complaining keeps going and leads to more frustration and I’m riding my bike home and finally realizing this. I get home. I eat my sandwich. I turn on some fifteen minute political podcast so I can have something to occupy myself with while I’m shoveling this sandwich down my face. I actually didn’t realize how hungry I was. The computer is talking about Mitt Romney and whether he thinks Obamacare is a tax or a penalty and Obama is saying something else and then Romney is saying something else and I don’t even care, not at all, the only thing I care about is this sandwich. And I must have been really hungry, because each bite is making me feel so much better, that by the end of the sandwich, not only am I not as hungry, but I’m not as hot, and I’m finally not as cranky. And I look at myself in the mirror and whatever, it’s a regular haircut, the same as I always get. And my eyebrows look fine. I don’t even think that nose hair trimmer works. It can’t. I’m always complaining about how it does such a terrible job of removing my nose hairs. My face is fine. I’m fine.

But I haven’t done any writing. And so I sit down right now and I write about how I spent all day being pissed off and complaining to myself and squirming and clenching my teeth and my jaw. But I was just hungry. And now I’m fine. Everything’s OK. I’ve just got to chill out sometime, man, sometimes I just need a giant sandwich. Sometimes I just need two, ridiculously large sandwiches, so big that the people behind me at the deli probably got so impatient waiting for the deli guy to put them both together.

Time for a haircut

I hate getting a haircut. It’s one of those things that I always put off for way too long. I never even think about it until somebody says to me something like, “Hey Rob, you could sure use a haircut,” and then it goes from something that I hadn’t even considered to something that I can’t stop thinking about, not even for a second. I’ll always be told I need a haircut at the least convenient time, like right as I’m about to start an eight-hour shift at work, or on Saturday night, right after the barber has closed up shop until Tuesday morning. I’m told that I need a haircut and now I have to wait a ridiculous amount of time, all the while not being able to think about anything else other than my pressing need for some grooming. Every time I walk by a mirror I’m reminded of how awful it looks. How could I have not been thinking about getting a haircut? It’s so obvious now.

So finally a moment becomes available where I’m able to go get it cut. I’m hoping that one of the haircutters will be totally free, just completely available to immediately have me sit down and get started. But that’s never the case. I’ll be sitting in the little waiting area, listening to the barbers try to make ridiculous conversation with the people that are sitting there having their hairs all cut off, just hoping that they’d hurry up, because I can feel my hair growing, faster by the second. I’d just like to have this taken care of as soon as possible, please.

There are always a few barbers giving haircuts and, even though I usually have a preference for who I’d like to cut mine, I’ll never act on that preference. I’ll always just take whoever is available next. Trust me, if you tell the next available barber that you’d like to wait for somebody else, that guy’s never going to forget it. And someday you’re going to come back for a haircut and, whether it’s a time constraint or just a lack of available barbers, you’re going to have to settle for this barber that you had passed up that first time. And, well, maybe he won’t give you a purposefully bad haircut, but he’s not going to give you a great haircut. He’s not going to take his time and make sure it’s one of his better haircuts. He’s probably just going to crank on the old autopilot and zone out to whatever the TV is showing. Ten bucks. An OK haircut. Seriously, just take whoever’s next, and if you get the barber that you wanted, then it’s good luck. You can’t always have the barber that you wanted.

Growing up, my dad, my brothers and I used to go to this barbershop called Primo’s. It was located in a small shopping center by our house, right in between a Pathmark and a sushi place called Sushi-Ya. (Every time my family went to Sushi-Ya, I would scream out “Sushiiiii-YA!” and give a karate chop to one of my brothers or sisters right as I let out the “YA!”) The sign was really old, and the P and the R had fallen off, so if you didn’t know any better, you would think that the place was called Imo’s. But it wasn’t. It was Primo’s.

There was always a huge line of people waiting to have their hair cut personally by Primo himself. But, like I said, it’s totally ridiculous to request an extra wait just to have Primo cut your hair. He’s going to wind up resenting the fact that he has to work so much harder than all of the other barbers. He probably felt rushed, and his haircuts probably reflected that feeling. I’m sure he was flattered at first, but after a couple of months, he’d look at this ridiculous line of people impatiently waiting for their turn, and then he’d turn to his other side and see all of the other barbers relaxing and reading the newspaper.

So Primo was basically unavailable. The other barbers left were Ross, Abraham, and Tony. Each barber had his own advantages and disadvantages (except for Tony, who only had distinct disadvantages. I’ll explain later.) Ross must have been a childhood friend of Primo’s great-grandfather. It’s the only possible reason for why this hundred-year-old man still held full-time employment. And I’m not saying anything bad about old people. If the guy still had it, I’d be first in line for a Ross haircut. But he was so shaky with his tools. You could feel the tremors in his hands as he pressed the buzzer to the back of your head. And he insisted on having at least somewhat of a back-and-forth with his customers. He would fish for small talk, but completely out of left field, like, “Hey, don’t you work at Pathmark?” “No.” “Are you sure?” “Yes.” With the pleasantries out of the way, he’d be free to zig-zag his way through your hair all while making vague comments about how the neighborhood sure isn’t what it used to be anymore, which, I’m assuming that whenever any old person says this, it’s always a thinly veiled racist remark, like look, there used to be more white people around, but now there’s a Japanese restaurant next door. (Sushiiiiiii-YA!)

Then there was Abraham. If I had to choose, and if I had to choose somebody other than Primo, I’d pick Abraham. The drawback of Abraham was that he never used any scissors, ever. It was strictly buzzer cuts. So you always came away from an Abraham cut looking as if you’d just enlisted in the army. But he totally owned it. He would brag about how he didn’t even need to use a pair of scissors. Ross hated Abraham, and let everyone know it. “What kind of a barber don’t use no scissors?” he would mutter way too loud to nobody in particular. I’m not sure where Abraham came from, but he had a big mustache and a thick accent. Maybe Turkey? I don’t know. I’m sure Ross knew, and I’m sure he didn’t approve.

Abraham wouldn’t use scissors, but he always finished up the haircut with a straight-razor. In fact, Abraham’s proficiency with a single blade was probably his most redeeming quality. You could always use it to get out of a Ross haircut. If Ross were available, he’d wipe off his chair and motion for you to come over. All you had to do was request a shave. Ross at some level must have known his own limits. He’d stare down at his shaking hands and say something like, “Sure, uh … Oh geez, I must have forgotten my straight-razor at home. You’re going to have to wait for Abraham.” And then Abraham’s face would light up. You could just tell what he was thinking, “Ha! Primo thinks he’s so popular. Looks like Primo’s not the only popular one around here. Now Abraham has a line too! Now Abraham is popular!” And while Abraham reclined your chair back and lathered up your face, he would openly brag, probably to just rub in Ross’s face a little more. “Now you are going to feel the magic! Abraham’s magic hands!” It reads a lot creepier than it sounded in real life. But it was a great shave, one of those shaves where your facial hair wouldn’t come back for close to a week.

Then there was Tony. Nobody ever got a haircut from Tony. I think it was just a generally accepted fact. For a guy who made his living in cutting hair, he had the worst haircut imaginable. It was these long, flowing, permanently wet-looking locks of thick hair. Normally, I would have assumed that the haircutter with the worst haircut has to be the best barber, because he’s the only one who can’t benefit from his own great haircutting skills. But that definitely wasn’t the case here. My brothers and I would all sit there and squirm and complain if we got called up to a Tony haircut. And my dad would get all pissed at us for making a scene and would say, “Fine, I’ll take a Tony haircut,” as if to show us that a haircut’s a haircut, that it didn’t really matter and that we were all being babies and making this whole family haircutting outing much longer than it needed to be. But then my dad would walk out with a weird new-wave hairdo and we would all try not to laugh for fear of getting yelled at on the way home. After a few visits, we would all just kind of try to avoid Tony’s pathetic gaze, his empty chair. He would gesture to my dad towards his seat, but my dad would just kind of shrug and look over his shoulder, almost saying, “Who me? No, you must be gesturing towards somebody else. Um. What? What?”

I recently went back to Primo’s, but some guy named Davy had bought the place. Apparently Primo had sold his majority stake in the firm and got relegated to second barber chair. Tony got the boot. But Davy got jealous because everybody still kept waiting for Primo. So then Primo got the boot. And then Ross came in to work one day and Davy just looked at him and said, “Really?” and Ross understood that he had given his last haircut. So it was just Abraham and Davy. I went with my brother and the place was empty, which, while terrible for the business, was great for us. I got Abraham, my brother Davy, and we both requested shaves. Abraham hadn’t lost any of his magic touch, but Davy clearly had never given a straight-shave before, and he totally mangled my brother’s face.

After that my brother started going to a new place. The new barber asked him where he had been getting his hair cut, and he told him at Primo’s. The guy apparently went into a huge rant about Abraham’s lack of talent, how this other guy makes the majority of his money fixing Abraham’s botched haircuts.

I started going to this Korean nail salon that also happens to give super cheap haircuts. It’s OK, but I hate going there because they always ask me if I want a shampoo first, which I don’t, because I always just shampoo in the shower, so why would I get another one here? But I feel like they resent me for it, or think I’m dirty, or cheap or something. Like I said, I really hate getting a haircut. It’s never a good experience. Some happen to be less terrible than others, but they’re all terrible, just terrible, terrible haircuts.