The problem with going to an 8 dollar barber is you end up getting an 8 dollar haircut.
Would that that were the only problem with the 8 dollar barber who just cut my hair. A student told me that he is known as, “the drunk barber,” but now that I’ve met him I call him “Vince the Racist Barber.”
First, the hair cut: I asked him to cut it short and with space between my fingers I indicated how much I wanted left on my head. Vince in turn showed me a length between his thumb and forefinger and asked, “this much?” “Yes,” I said, and then he picked a different length and again asked, “this much?” This went on for quite a while. I said yes to every option. When I was finally asked to sit he simply said, while running his fingers through my hair, “cut it off?” “Yes.” Then he asked if I was from Boise. “No, I moved from Chicago,” I said. “Too many blacks,” he said disapprovingly - as you might expect from a racist barber. He seemed to want a response, so I said, “there are a lot of them.” “50%,” said Vince the racist barber. He told me that Boise is a good place to grow a family. He also told me that Chicago has too many nationalities. “Chicago has too many Mexicans and Chinese and Mexicans” (he said Mexicans twice). Vince the Racist Barber is from Spain. “…not so many Mexicans in Boise but Nampa – lots. They’re bad. They’re thiefs!” With my short hair and long beard, I am starting to look rather Muslimish. As I listened to the sound of his straight razor sharpening on the leather strop, I hoped Muslims weren’t another group Vince had a problem with.
I am writing this in an open and affirming cafe with two homosexuals at my table. One of them told me that he likes Vince but he doesn’t think that Vince cleans his hair cutting equipment. That would explain why Vince the Racist (and xenophobic) Foreign Barber was covered with hair at 8:30 in the morning.