We've walked passed a barber shop on our way to and from the library a zillion (literally, a zillion) times. One day, while Erin and the kids picked out books, I decided to pop in for a trim.
A white-haired, friendly-faced man sat alone on the barber chair in the middle of the shop. He had a black cape around his neck, trimmed by a neat little paper collar. He held a mirror in one hand and electric clippers in the other.
Man: Damn. You have any idea how hard it is to cut your own hair?
Me: About that hard?
Man: Yer right. My name's Alphie. I'll be with you in a minute.
After Alfie finished trimming his own hair, he stepped down and offered me the chair. I sat down and took a look around the room.
A red, vinyl-covered day bed sat in the corner. Posters of old ship wrecks and classic cars covered the walls. Then I spotted a photo that had been clipped from the paper several years ago. It was Alphie standing over a man whose face was covered in shaving foam; Alphie frozen in mid-stroke with a straight razor in his hand.
I love a shave. I used to go to an old, stubby-fingered barber in Windsor who shouted in Italian at a fuzzy TV screen while his razor cleaned my face smooth as Alice's bottom.
Me: Do you still do straight razor shaves, Alphie?
Alphie: I wish. It's the one thing I gave up after I had my stroke.
Me: Oh, that's too bad. When was that?
Alphie: Oh, about six months ago.
He then turned to the work at hand: my head.