Since the early 1995, Frank has cut what I laughingly call my hair. Every 18 days or so, once over with a 1.5 clipper. It takes fifteen minutes tops, we chat about the weather, listen to Italian radio. He applies warm shaving cream to my neck and sideburns, wields the straight razor, slaps on some stingy stuff. No muss, no fuss. He was trained in Sicily, authentically, pre-hipster, old school.
Now Frank is three thousand miles away. I have scoured West L.A. looking for his distant cousin and have had three haircuts from three different “barbers”. The ambience, the chit-chat, the music, the results, have all been very disappointing.
On Friday, in preparation for my trip to New York (sadly, Frank is closed the days I’ll be there) and then Amsterdam, I tried yet another place. A very nice lady tried a) to talk me out of my usual haircut, b) put a paper rather than cloth towel around my neck, and c) badly sliced the edge of my ear with the clippers. She tried to blame the shape (somewhat pointy) of my ear, then handed me a series of towels to absorb the geysering blood. I held a towel to the side of my head while she cut around it.
By the time I woke up in the morning, with bloodstains on my pillow (isn’t that the name of a song?), the wound seems to have closed. I grumbled a bit more about it and then suddenly had an epiphany. Of course! I am headed to the Netherlands, home of Vincent V. Clearly, this is a great omen that the trip will be a wonderful artistic experience.
Or that I should let my hair grow long.