The Do


One of the great things about living in my little community is the tons of shops and services that are here to take care of the needs of families and people who have dogs or cats. We get our dog groomed at a little place up the road. We got our Christmas cookies from a kiosk in the square. Gift socks were obtained at a weird kiosk that pops up every Thursday like Brigadoon. Half of the pubs we visit are run by our neighbors. And then there’s my hair.  

Getting a haircut is pretty weird when you think about it. This forest on top of your head gets shaggy and starts growing down your back and so you arrange a time for a professional head gardener to trim it into submission while they talk to you about Ted Lasso.

For me, it’s a little weirder. It’s small talk in Czech with a woman circling me with clippers. In any event, my head forest had become overgrown and shaggy, and so I made an appointment and I crossed my fingers.

Marcelas are always spunky and so is the one who owns a barbershop a few doors down from me. There are four others, but as she was the only one to answer my message or pick up the phone when I initiated my head into the local haircut scene in December, I have thus devoted the next couple of decades of my hair maintenance to her.  

Marcela’s shop is small and cozy. It’s tucked into the side of the entrance to a building a few doors down. Once coming through the door you feel relaxed. There are a couple of curved seashell armchairs and one chair in front of a mirror so you can watch a closeup of your face getting worked on. Another chair sits up against a head-tub.

Marcela is smaller than me. She has very blue eyes and looks like she would have run a saloon in the Old West on her summer holidays. She speaks quickly and she is alert and focused. Her haircuts are a thing of obsessive beauty. When I come through the door she is spraying water onto a head cushion and wiping it clean. She looks up when I walk in.

“You have a helmet! I forgot! You should have come last month!”

Czech sometimes to me is like a hand grenade. Someone throws an explosive ball of language at me and a few seconds later I go: “Oh yeah…” I do exactly that now and offer apologies that I have waited two months as opposed to the verbally-agreed-upon one month. By the time I apologize, she has forgiven me and points me to the head tub.

“Want me to wash your hair?”

“Oh yes,” I say with a little too much eagerness. But the thing is, Marcela cuts hair the same way that I think I would. She has a small place and focuses on your head as if it’s the only thing in the world. I sit and she washes my head for what seems like 15 minutes. I am in heaven. She wakes me up and I float over to the seat. I sit. She goes to work. After a few explosive phrases and questions, I stumble through the directions and questions and then she buckles down.

My haircut takes about thirty minutes. Marcela takes her time and does it right. She’s obsessive and that’s right up my alley. We talk about height (we measure, I am taller). We talk about glasses (She needs ‘em, doesn’t want ‘em). We talk about an upcoming trip to Rome I’m taking. We talk about cooking and I think we parlay into chicken vs. turkey. Though it’s entirely possible that she’s asking if I went to the sock place over Christmas.

After my do has been done, she washes my hair again. My hair decorates her floor. I pay. We shake hands firmly. I promise that I will come back in one month rather than two. I suppose in my old age it’s nice to find a place nearby where the service is also worthwhile. Also, I get to field language grenades. On my way out, she calls a few things to me and I agree confusedly. It’s only on my way up the sidewalk that I realize she’s telling me about the sock place.    

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