Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Cutting Out a Home

When moving to a new region, one must find certain places of comfort. Church, for example. Life often feels unstable in a new place without church community. I still seek the feeling of home which this comfort will provide me.

Today was a big day for me though because today I found one of these places. I found my barber.

His name is Al. His title: "Master Barber" at Champion Cuts. That's right, folks, not an "Apprentice Barber" or even a "Regular Barber." A "Master Barber." His business card says so.

Now you may think I exaggerate, that perhaps this topic does not seem blog-worthy. However, I do not like hair. It annoys me. I hate it when it creeps onto my ears, and I hate it when it sprouts on the back of my neck. I hate when it becomes long enough I can twist it and play with and not keep my hands off it. Thus, if a barber does not adequately fight back the side-hair climbing onto my ears and do some good tapering work, he has monumentally failed me. I take this very seriously.

I have spent the better part of the last four years of my life away from Charlotte and have yet to find a barber who does an adequate job. Chapel Hill, Williamsburg, Boston - none provide the comfort and home of my barber in Charlotte.

So when I strolled down to Champion Cuts today, I almost did not enter. I had lost hope given past experiences. Perhaps another barber simply did not exist who could match the standard set for so many years in Charlotte. Yet, my friends, suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope.

I choose to hope. I enter.

Al is a big dude with a bald-head. As we began, he asks me what I have up today, and I say I work at the university. Soon I would go to work. He asks me what I do. I reply I work with a campus ministry. This almost kills our conversation, as it almost did with my landlord, as it almost did with George the Chinese take-out guy last night, as it almost does with most folks I meet up here. People find Jesus awkward here, and they do not hide it. I respect that. Facade does no one any good.

I have become adept at pushing through the awkwardness caused by my occupation, so I make a comment about Appalachian St. beating Michigan. Unlike nearly everyone in New Hampshire, I knew of App. St. before they beat Michigan. I feel like I have known a secret that everyone else has just learned about, and now is my time to shine. I shine, talking about a friend I know who goes to school there and must have had a grand party Saturday night.

Pushed through awkwardness. Al and I still have a chance!

On the wall in front of the chair hangs a great deal of Boston sports memorabilia. This is Champion Cuts, after all. Right in front of me hangs a picture from the New England Patriots Super Bowl victory over my beloved Panther Nation in 2004. I have never cried over a sporting event. I came closest at that loss.

This almost ruins me and Al. Some things I cannot tolerate. Re-opening old wounds remains one of them.

But Al tapers. Al takes a two-guard to the edges of my ears. What's best, Al only charges 11 bucks. The price remains low enough that I can leave a substantial tip and still feel like I get a deal. The quickest way to a man's heart may be through his stomach, but the surest way to capture it is through his wallet. Thus, I find reason to ignore the Super Bowl poster. It's only a game, after all, and some things are more important than sports.

Like hair.

I have still yet to find a church home. I still do not know where I will go watch the Panthers on Sunday. But today, I found a barber.

Today, Dover became a little bit more my home.


Kristen G said...

"InterVarsity-- I think I've heard of that-- it's kind of like intermurals, except better, right?" Gotta love the awkward.

Jeff said...