Saturday, February 27, 2010

a strange and lovely barber shop experience

today, i went to a real barber at a barber shop for the first time. All my adult life I've had my sister cut my hair or have sheered it myself or with the help of friends. But today, well today was damn different.

my strange hawk-mullet had begun to feel cumbersome and tangled.

we were out scoring some chicken feed and pine shavings at the feed store in chelsea (a small town in michigan and the home of all things jiffy-that's the blue boxed instant/add and egg or some milk products) and then we happened upon a barber shop that was open and we went on in.

k happened to know one of the men--the one who ended up cutting my hair--from high school. His uncle owns the place, and we got to take advantage of the family business they had going on.

I cannot express how much i enjoyed the crass, political and down-to-earth conversation we all had--that's me, k, the old classmate of k's, and the old classmate's uncle. Cuss words carried from our lips; we were totally out and even congratulated about our recent unnuptials; I was encouraged by the uncle that I would look just splendid with all of my curly locks trimmed down to a nice side-swiped do; and we tlked long and hard about mi craft beers. Most interesting of all, we got into an in-depth conversation about the problem of prison growth in Michigan and the problems that happen inside. the uncle was outright outraged that we cage human beings up in prison and even pointed out very articulately how only a small, small number of people really need to be kept away from the rest of society and how the remainder of the people are often folks on the fringe who live in the gray area and are marginalized and demonized and then locked away cause of the fringe place they inhabit either by force or by choice.

I gave him my work email and told him to drop me a line so we could talk about it all some more. It felt good to walk into a place that is mostly frequented by all kinds of men, from all walks of life and instead of having a conversation that is surfacey or totally on the brink of inappropriate, we talked about real social problems and human rights issues and i met a stranger--a person from the public--a tax-payer--who believes something is deeply, deeply wrong with the criminal justice system and we need to do something now to stop more people from going to prison.

Now my hair is bristly short and it feels light and amazing and my heart feels a little fuller today, because every once in while you stumble upon good hearted people who let it all hang out.

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