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Pointing the wrong way by Storyteller.


When I was 15, in 1981, many boys my age still had moderately long hair, still a reflection of previous decade’s fashion especially those richer boys, the popular ones at school. While some, like me, still had long hair. A bit as a way of differing from those boys and a bitbecause we wanted to maintain the right that we had won, even as children, to grow our hair out.
My hair, by then, was past my shoulders, it was brown, silky, straight, and I kept it well combed and clean, so as not to have problems with my parents. I was a reserved young man, polite in dealing with adults and tried to avoid getting into trouble.

I used to have my hair cut not very often, and I would go to a small, humble barbershop, close to home, where the barber had known me since childhood and I just had to say "just a little off" and he knew what to do.
One summer afternoon I was walking downtown when I met a neighbor from my building with whom I didn't usually talk too much, but I politely said "Good afternoon, sir, how are you?", he was friendly and said "Good, and you, kid? And what are you doing here downtown?" and I said "I’m looking for some school supplies for the upcoming school year, sir" and he said "good boy". I smiled.

He said he was going to the barbershop and that he could give me a ride home after that, and he said "you could take the opportunity to get a haircut before starting classes, I'll pay for you" I thought it was a good idea and, after all, I would get a free haircut and a ride, and said: "of course, sir, thank you".
We walked into a barbershop that was very different from the one I was used to, I politely followed in my neighbor's footsteps and was a little embarrassed because I didn't know him that well. The barbershop was spacious, bright, and had several barbers working at the same time. One of the barbers greeted my neighbor, who immediately went to the barber chair.

I headed towards a waiting chair, after a while a barber who was free saw me and called me "hey, kid, here with me". I smiled and said "yes sir" heading over to his barber chair and sat down. The barber put a cape around me and a neckstrip around my neck, closing everything carefully so that my long hair was not inside the cape. He asked me who was paying for my cut, and I pointed to the side and said "that man over there".

The barber said, "Oh, yes,", pumped the chair up and swiveled it so that I was facing away from the mirror. He promptly grabbed clippers, turned them on, and started going straight under my bangs on top of my head. I was really scared, I had never seen or heard clippers working before. And now I was feeling them on my head, and seeing my hair fall in front of my eyes. And, obviously, I didn't understand anything.

After a few moments of fright, I asked the barber: "excuse me, sir, but what are you doing?" He said: "I'm giving you the haircut that was requested for you" and continued running the clippers on top of my head, and I said: "that can't be, sir, he just offered to pay for a cut for me, he didn't say anything about the cut." The barber stopped and said: "isn’t him your instructor from the sports academy?" and I said "no, he’s my neighbor, that one over there" pointing again. And the barber said: "so you pointed wrong, you pointed at that man over there" and said smiling "now we don’t have much to do, let’s go on with the cut."

He kept passing the clippers on top of my head, focused on his work. While he handled my head and ran the clippers, I saw my neighbor on another barber chair, he saw the cut and said "wow, you're making the cut worth it, huh, kid?", I smiled completely embarrassed and said "yes, sir, thank you" and he said: "It’s looking really good". The barber said "See? After all, whoever is paying is satisfied with the cut."

The barber then changed the blade on the clippers, which was #4, to a #1 and started to clipper the sides. My hair was getting even shorter. My neighbor's cut had already finished, and he came close to the barber chair I was in and stood watching the barber's work and said: "it's looking really good, huh" The barber said "and the guy seems to be satisfied, he's smiling". My neighbor then said "well, if you wanted to take advantage of a short cut, and you like it, you can have it even shorter". I was getting ready to say no, and the barber promptly took the clippers, now with #1 blade, which he was using on my sides and back, and started running it on the top of my head saying "right ahead". The hair that was already short on top started to get even shorter.

The neighbor smiled at me and I, not knowing what to do, smiled back, while the barber left me, by the standards of the time, practically bald. The barber then switched from blade #1 to #00000 and started going over the back and sides of my head. He did the job accurately and quickly, and soon I had an extremely short cut, completely unusual for young people my age at the time.

The barber slowly ran his hand over my almost shaved head and said "It's ready, unless the young man wants it even shorter" as he showed me the cut in a hand mirror. And I, smiling politely, said "that’s fine, sir, thank you very much". The barber used a hard brush to clean my head, shook the cape so the hair fell to the floor, opened it, and said "ready, kid, you can get out of the chair".

The neighbor paid for the cuts, we said goodbye to the barber and left the barbershop. As I didn't know the neighbor well, I didn't have much to talk to him about, he gave me a lift and we arrived at our building, I thanked him, said goodbye, and went home. Arriving home, the reactions were a lot of surprise and astonishment, and, of course, a lot of jokes, they gave me nicknames, they ran their hands over my head and asked what had happened. I didn't want to say that the neighbor had paid for the cut and that there had been a misunderstanding, so I just made a sound like I was being disturbed by someone touching my head and walked away. In the end, no one understood why I had gotten such an unusual cut for the time, and I just hoped that my hair would grow back as quickly as possible so as not to face the start of classes with that ultra-short haircut...




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