[It was time to revive this blog, if by "revive" I mean bring back from the dead in a staggering, just a few blips on the cardiogram way. We'll see how this goes. These are tiny pieces that are linked together in some sense. More soon. -cp]
1. Stave and a Haircut
I've seen the same haircutter for ages, save a couple of years I lived in LA. I've seen her longer than any relationship I've had. She is from Germany, and usually makes her own hair the color of autumn leaves which fits her disposition, Germanic melancholy mixed with dark but sweet humor. She is a good person. We talk about cats (we've each lost several in the time we've known each other and once she started crying enough where she had to step away with her scissors in hand, knowing her hand was shaking too much to continue safely, because her cat Gris Gris had just passed away. I tried to comfort her by saying "you gave him a great life" but I understood these things take time. Much of the time we also talk about films and jazz. And sometimes politics. I saw her after the election. We tried to change the subject in that hour, but a few times The Subject came up and she talked about Germany and she was worried. I was worried, too. So I tried to change the subject again, which naturally brought us back cats, as at least our cats at that time were not dead but the opposite of dead which is alive. All of this may seem small talk, boring talk, to anyone eavesdropping (no one was eavesdropping) but it's taking comfort in what is a path of small stones that we lay out for each other, the reassurance of the smooth surfaces and the tiny objects low to the ground, comfort in having a way back if we should get lost down a melancholy tangent.
I was an opposite child: Most kids hate haircuts at first, while I wanted them much more often than my then hippie-ish parents wanted me to get (they were both after their time and before their time in this regard), so there are many class photos of me looking unhappy with my poofy hair, long hair that other kids would make fun of, somewhat misshapen hair which poofed on top on other side with a sag in the middle so I looked somewhat like a brunette version of poor Gossamer the monster from the Bugs Bunny cartoons. So when I reached adulthood I sometimes overcompensated by getting frequent haircuts. Now that I'm older I hope I've achieved more balance. A pH.
My hair has naturally changed a bit since I started seeing her, I'm lucky to not be balding much (yet) but certainly there is more graying and hair falling out and coarseness, and she tells me about her favorite "product" which I sometimes buy and then go home, ruffle my hair so it sticks up, and spray the product into the air next to me, then walk into it stooping so it falls into my head. I look like a mallard in a hurry. I slick it back down and look in the mirror, distracted by the bags under my eyes. Now I get why they are called bags, they look like tiny carry-ons sagging into a closet like sad memories of faded trips, and I do not remember seeing them as pronounced the week before, or in December, or before early November. It's time for another haircut, there's a poignancy in the consistency and the rhythm and the reliability of it that I will cling to, like we will cling to our conversations about jazz, and cats, and films, anything that is like a sleeping bag and a tent to lie in, the bag zipped up to the lips, the tent a protective shell, the world around just the quiet of the stars that will remain (they exist in the future, after all, and there's reassurance in that, too), and these are my things, these are life.