There is always a crossroads, a juncture, an end of something. I have spent the last four years counting down to that moment and now that I have arrived I am wondering what it is that I am supposed to do. Is it a case that I meekly shuffle off to the side of my life and watch the lives of my wife and my daughters?
There are days when I am full of the desire to set about my remaining years with gusto. Then, there are other days when I fall back, let time have its way, rest and regenerate. I feel guilty for those days. It is as if I have purposely wasted that of which I have little left.
Today, my excuse was the cold. Winter has arrived and it knows that our relationship is not one that I crave. When the darkness, the rain, and the lack of warmth set upon the world, I want to hibernate. I hate having to wrap-up in order to do the simplest outdoor task. I walked into town to get my hair cut. Woolly hats and gloves were everywhere. The first smatterings of festive lights and every man, woman, and their dog are going all Dickens. Humbug.
I tried to get into my favourite barbers. The world is now a men’s grooming theme park with every colour and type of Victorian beard needing trimming and oiling (I don’t actually know if they oil them).
Recently, I have taken to strolling; there’s no need to rush as time will be waiting for you when you get there. A little more recently, I decided to increase my pace a little as old age pensioners and mothers with prams were beginning to get frustrated by my blocking of the pavement. This morning, my walk was more purposeful but, at the very last minute an old bloke beat me to the barber’s door. In hope, I peered through the window only to see another old bloke waiting on the seat for the next cut. There are only two barbers which meant that I would have to wait. I walked on.
I ended up at another place that I don’t use very often. It’s a female barber, but I don’t think you can have such a thing. She was finishing off the last knockings of a Chinese bloke’s hair. I sat and looked at the floor. Fortunately, she doesn’t hang around. She hardly talks. She just cuts hair. Are male barbers trained to talk? I often think that they should forget their training and get on with the business at hand.
A number of years ago I had one barber who felt that he needed to tell grimly entertaining stories of his ex wife and her new lover, Mr Wonderful. It was hard to tell who he hated the most, the cheating slut who was his ex or the cheating bastard who was Mr Wonderful. I still have a recording of one of my visits, I was training to be a writer. I had a dictaphone and I put it to record and placed it in my pocket.
Tom, my barber, admitted to the burglary of his ex’s home. He also admitted to leaving something rather unsavoury beneath the covers of Mr Wonderful’s side of the bed. A calling card.
None of the new breed of groomers share anything like this.