I got my hair cut yesterday. I could write an entire post about getting my hair cut, couldn’t I, but that’s not what this is about. I could also write an entire entry about how I am deaf at the hair place — the whirring implements, the stereo going, the people talking, the nasty acoustics in the room, which is in an old building with arched ceilings and meter-thick walls — and how my inability to hear conversation in that room, combined with the unfamiliar accents of both the stylist (from the Austrian province of Burgenland) and the apprentice (from Macedonia originally, speaks great German, but with a slightly unfamiliar accent) leads to my seeming stupid due to numerous nonsequiturs etc. But that is not what I meant to write about, nor about how although my wife said nice things about the haircut when I got home, and I liked it, Gamma made gagging sounds and said “you look like Ken! Only with grey hair. The Barbie Ken.” She has a gift for cutting to the quick of the heart of any situation. Beta said, when she saw me later, “you get your hair cut?”
What I wanted to talk about was, after parking my car and on my way to the little machine to buy a little slip of paper that said how long I was allowed to park on the street, I saw K. riding towards me on his bicycle.
K. I love. He is this guy in what, his sixties, very trim grey hair, trim artistic-looking goatee, always nattily dressed. He is a musician (violin? or cello? Not sure.) and a music-lover, a music maven, full of anecdotes about various composers and musicians of his acquaintance and always a story about some concert he just saw. He has commissioned compositions before, paid composers to write stuff for him, that sort of thing.
“Hi, K.,” I said.
“Hello there,” he said, stopping his bike. We shook hands. He asked me how I was. I wasn’t sure (after a day in the office I am often not sure), so I just asked him how he was instead of giving him an answer.
“Oh, just got back from Salzburg,” he said. “Saw [some opera, maybe Don Giovanni] there, and a couple other things.”
This is where, in the past, he has always gone into detailed description and analysis of the performance. But this time, I said:
“Oh, that’s really nice. My wife just saw Mitridate there. We had a cellist friend in the orchestra.”
That was the first time anything I’d said had impressed K. He always wears this mask of congenial, cultured gentlemanliness, but that was briefly replaced by pure enthusiasm.
“I’ve heard that was really good!” he said. “That was a real event!”
He couldn’t think of anything more to say after that, because he is used to topping whatever you say, and he had nothing to beat that.
He rode off and I went and put the little slip of paper on my dashboard and went and got my hair cut.
First, though, I wandered around a little, because I still had 15 minutes to kill before my appointment. The bookstore/CD shop smelled too musty so I left there after 5 minutes. I walked around outside in the semi-sunshine like a cop killing time before the end of his shift, idly twirling my-wife-just-saw-Mitridate like a billy club, back and forth, waiting for someone else to ask me how I was.