The Tweets
The Tweets

Entries in Nostalgia (2)

Friday
Dec092016

The little Barber Shop of memories

About a week ago I went to a Barber Shop for the first time in what must be close to twenty years. It wasn't even a conscious choice, more one of convenience. It turns out, a bigger city means longer waits for appointments and salons don't take walk-ins as happily.

For all of the new updates and changes that have occurred since the last time I visited the most "manly" of grooming establishments--online booking and Square payment through a phone being at the forefront--there was a palpable sense of coming home again. The smell of whatever Barber Shop specific cleaning products for example apparently cannot be improved on as that particular smell was the first thing to hit me as I walked in the door. Other than the too obvious attempt to make this a place for "men," I felt at home there. I had forgotten how much I missed the sounds--and sights--of scissors cutting at a rapid and seemingly random pace. As with most things nostalgia related, I was reminded of my dad and how we would go to the barber as a father/son bonding activity when I was younger. In fact, part of the reason I stopped going to this type of shop is that my--and my father's--longtime barber retired and the experience was such a positive one, I didn't want it soured with the uncertainty of a new person. That should give you a little insight into how my brain works.

Beyond the memories, the really interesting part about my visit was how it brought up all of these confusing gender identity questions in my head. I had forgotten just how distinct the gender lines can be, even in 2016. A Barber Shop is a place that men went to do "manly" things while the Hair Salon is where women went to do "ladylike" things. In my attempt to be more of a modern human being, I sort of stepped out of that bubble for a while and it's weird coming back to it after all of these years. The really confusing thing is just how welcoming it felt, and I can't quite figure out if it was the nostalgia factor, or if the experience triggered something else inside me, down in that place where rye and Frank Sinatra live.

Unfortunately, I got the one barber who didn't speak English, so I didn't get the full chat while they cut experience. This might warrant another visit to figure out the mystery. Only 4 more weeks until it's justified!

Sunday
Jun232013

The smell of fresh cut grass

Living in either an apartment or a condo for the better part of the last decade, there is a definite change to your way of life. As it turns out, I miss mowing the lawn.

It's one of those chores that I have never looked forward to, but the second I start the engine of the lawn mower, I remember how amazingly relaxing it is, and minutes after I shut down the engine, that feeling starts to dissipate.

Growing up, I was lucky enough to be self employed. I has started up a home care/lawn mowing business. It started with a friend of my parents taking pity on a poor kid, and by the end, there were contract disputes (a souvenir shirt does not equal a month of lawn mowings and mail pickup), dozens of Hilroy scribblers with dates, notes, pet instructions, security codes and invoices. I had to balance several houses around the neighborhood varying lawn mower availability with my 12 speed as my only transportation. It even caused the only real fight I had with my father (which ended up teaching me more about greed than the scariest tales the Brothers Grimm could come up with).

Through it all, as nice as it was to have my own money, what I remember the most from those years was that no matter how stressful life got, all I had to do was turn on my Walkman--yes, that's how old I am; it did become a Discman eventually--and pull the cord on the mower to be sent into an almost zen like state. Maybe it had something to do with the blocking out of the rest of the world combined with the very methodical approach I took to sectioning off the lawn so I wouldn't miss one patch of grass, but I always left a job feeling much more at peace with my life.

I recently had the opportunity to pull that old ripcord again, and other than the fact that I had an iPhone instead of a mixtape, all it took was forty five minutes for my shoes to be stained green and my head to be clear. I didn't realize it then, but I think what set this particular activity apart from others was that I also end up accomplishing something in the real world while I was cleaning out the dark corners of my brain.

Now, I don't even know where I'm going with this other than taking a trip down memory lane; all I know is this would be the most convoluted advertisement for a new landscaping and security business ever.