What to say, where to start, why aren't I sleeping? This always happens. I look at my mirror and sing Dire Straights lyrics to my reflection. "That ain't working, that's the way you do it." Something has got to change, and I know what it is. All my life, my hair has been the joke that my scalp plays on my social life. I've had mohawks and pho-hawks, parts and cowlicks, blond hair, red hair, brown hair, purple hair, blue hair, green hair, and now (my favorite) gray hair. It grows straight out of my head, perfecting ignoring gravity exactly the way the rest of the physical world cannot. It had gotten out of control lately, it looked like some horrible giant had stepped on a fuzzy forest animal and, in an effort to feel less horrible about destroying something fuzzy, had glued it to the top of my head. At one point in my early twenties, I remember naming my hair, Bob. I remember telling my employers that Bob was a sentient being and was no longer my responsibility to maintain. Bob could take care of himself. Bob mostly just made a mess of himself and my employers made it clear that Bob had to go. Bob makes cameo appearances once in a while.
Last time i got my haircut, I went to the Hair Cuttery down the street from where I live, mostly because the haircut I got before that was at a fancy place with a fancy name, cost me $45, and looked like God had taken a dump on my head. At the Hair Cuttery, a solemn black lady named Michelle cut my hair. I was single then, but I blamed the clipper strokes above my right ear on my non-existent girlfriend.
"I asked my girl to cut my hair," I lied to Michelle, "and look what she did to the side. One swipe of those clippers over my ear and I bolted out of that chair and I came here." I pointed to the bald spot above my right ear where, in a self-confident fit of stupid, I had pressed my clippers against my head forgetting to put on the #4 clip. This was a bold faced lie, but it was easier to have a patsy in the form of a non-existant lady-friend than to take any heat for trying to cut my own hair. In the words of Yoda, there was no try, there was only do not. "Think you can fix it?"
"Sure I can fix it, but learn your lesson. Keep her away from those clippers." She laughed. I joined her laughter with a guilty version of my own chortles while pulling off my glasses and entering the world of fuzzy vision. Now, it should be known that when I take off my glasses, I cannot see a damn thing. My chin has to be resting on the space bar in order for me to be able to read anything on the screen of my computer. So when I take off my glasses and I get my hair cut, I get no frame of reference as to how much is being lopped off and how much is being left on top. It's almost like magic when I put my glasses back on. Everything about me looks totally different. I'm cosmically (cosmetically) reborn, and I am either a beautiful, beautiful butterfly or the ugly duckling. Mostly it the latter, but I’ll get to that. This liberation from responsibility due to lack of visual clarity is a technique that I am putting into practice a lot these days; flying blind. Just letting go of everything and seeing where I float off to – sunny sandy beaches or class five white water rapids. Either way, someone else is steering. It is a cathartic release for a nit-picky pseudo-perfectionist like myself. Alas, it is not the best way to get your hair done. Michelle nailed it that first time though, months and months ago. Back then, when I put my glasses back on and she handed me that black handled mirror while spinning me around, I saw myself neatly trimmed-in on the sides and back, and slightly-to-mostly out of control on the top. Order and Chaos, Ying and Yang, ebb and flow, Cain and Abel, Donny and Marie, apples and uranium. It was like a modern mullet; business on the sides, insane asylum on the top. I got my passport pictures taken a few days later. I made sure to be holding Ray-Ray the Ukulele during the photo shoot and there is clearly a noticeable shit-eating-grin smeared across my face as a result of playing "Tonight, You Belong To Me" while getting my international identification card prepared. Point being, it was a damn good haircut, so I made a point to remember Michelle's name.
I went back there today. Fifteen minutes later and after clump after clump after clump of salt and pepper hair was sheared off my head and fell into my lap, I put my glasses back on. In all honesty, I wasn't surprised. Excluding the last haircut I got from Michelle, I never like the way my haircuts turn out, and this one defiantly fit into the category of, “I hate you, haircut.” It was more of a military functional flattop than a style. It sat on top of my head like an awkward patch of grass in the desert, like a dead squirrel weeks after the impact, like a dunce cap, like a bright orange traffic cone, like a groaner of a punch line. It looked bad. I was not upset though. I mostly went to the barber as a need to start the last week of the way my life has been for a long time, and a bad haircut is a great way to start the end of a lifestyle you want to stop.
Let's think about that for a second. The only points that I've made so far are that I like flying blind, I usually get bad haircuts, and I’m trying to change the way I live.
I realize that I only get haircuts before big events, like my brother's wedding, or my best friend's wedding, or passport photo day (which is a thirty-one year-old’s equivalent to school picture day). Since 1998, I've been buzzing my own hair hours after getting a bad haircut. You might think that after almost twelve years of paying for haircuts only to turn around and buzz it all down to #4 moments later is a waste of time and money. You would think right. But the action of getting my hair cut is worth more than the $15 (plus $5 tip, even though I don’t like the end result, I tip people who make me feel good) and the half hour it takes to get it done. The point is that this relinquishing of my image to someone with a pair of scissors and a bunch of combs in a jar full of blue liquid is a catalyst for change in my life, I’m preparing for vast changes and improvements. And totally unlike Reganomics, change and improvements in me most frequently start at the very top of my head and work their way into every aspect of my life. I gladly shelled out a twenty as I prepared myself for what might be the best decision I’ve ever made.
This time next week, I will be landing on the other world. I am going there to meet her, the woman I have been dreaming about, the woman I whisper goodnight to even though I know she can’t hear me, the woman I call amazing. I am nervous and excited and overwhelmed and short of breath and totally unprepared, but I’ve cut my hair, twice, so I know I ready for some of those big time changes I’ve been dreaming about. Beautiful Mystery, I'm on my way to you