Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My Old Fashioned Barber Shop

In the USA, I often hear people lamenting the closing of small personal businesses as corporations make it hard to compete. Once a way of life has passed, it will probably never return.

As a boy in Brooklyn, NY, I remember going to the barbershop on Nostrand Ave. with my father, a classic bonding experience. The old barbers, Augie, Noah and Mooney would ply their trade and men and boys shared the ritual. This is before unisex shops, $100 haircuts and hip stylists.

Here in San Ramon unisex shops and high style are easy to find. I prefer the old fashioned barbershop …… where masters Pibo and Paco have cut hair for decades. The estrogen free zone has big leather barber chairs and wood floors. The atmosphere is right out of the 50’s or early 60’s with no hint of modern life. They use long straight razors for shaves with nice warm lather. They use their scissors with confidence. There is no music playing and no hint of the world outside. When they put you all the way back in the chair, it feels like all your worries drop away. It is an experience, not just a haircut.

Money is money and everybody needs some, but quality of life, connection, and simple rituals bring peace of mind. Life is a journey to find a balance that works. Everybody’s formula is different. Having money and things is a part of the mix, but cannot substitute for things that are missing.

Immersing myself in the culture here in San Ramon has taught me many life lessons that have made my life better. There are no black and white answers… just a never-ending exploration.

My trip to the barbershop every 2 weeks for a beard trim and haircut is a nice part of the journey.