I was walking to the grocery store this evening. It was dark and there was a light rain. It was five pm. It felt much later, as it tends to on these dark winter afternoons
There was twenty-something dollars in my wallet, enough to get my hair cut. I wanted to trim my hair, to make it shorter, sharper, to hopefully as a result feel a bit better about myself and my appearance. I have been feeling very ho-hom lately. I wear the same pair of jeans and one of two flannels just about every day. There are days when it seems to me that I have given up. Things I used to care about, scouring thrift stores for new looks, putting these various items of clothing on each day, getting dressed with intention and effort - that these are no longer a concern, a priority, a thing done.
I bought a new pair of jeans today and a new pair of boots, bought these at the Cheap Monday sample sale, where I ran into Jacob. We hugged. Leaving, I crossed traffic on Broadway in the middle of the street and thought of him as I hurried before the traffic reached me.
Food could wait. I needed a haircut, suddenly became pulled in the direction of the barber I have been going to for the last couple of months.
As I was walking up to the entrance, the guy that cut my hair the last couple times was walking out the door. His eyes lit up and he led me to his chair. I am bit confused if this guy likes me or just likes my business, likes that I probably tip too much money on what is a really cheap haircut. The skill of the Latin barbershops in Bushwick and East Williamsburg is entirely unmatched by any barber I have been to in Manhattan. You get a really nice fade, your edges shaped with a straight razor, and all of this for eleven or twelve dollars.
This barber mentioned to me probably two or three times that I was his favorite customer. He told me I was so young and good-looking. When he would take pauses to let me inspect how the haircut was going, his eyes looked at my eyes with something a little more intense than the desire for approval. I wasn't really attracted to him and also was so confused by what was happening, whether I was reading too much into things, whether this guy was just being nice, or alternately whether he was doing this confusing/kind-of-hitting-on-me thing as theater, as some way of making me, clearly a gay boy, perhaps like him and want to tip him more, or to come back and see him more often. I don't know. I kept on wavering between feeling hustled and feeling hit on. I was tired enough and had enough trouble understanding his accent that it didn't really matter. I left with the haircut I wanted.
I did indeed feel better, new.
I bought some groceries at Associated. Most of the beer didn't have prices, there were hardly any frozen pizzas, and I resisted buying Ben & Jerry's even though it was on sale. I walked home with these bags of food and I then took a shower. I washed off the bits of hair all over me and stood underneath the hot water, letting it warm me up, letting my body relax, standing there for an extended period of time, letting this warm sensation wash over me again and again and again.