The past Wednesday morning was a moment of liberation for me. I got a haircut after two months of mounting (kind of) hair.
I was pleased. My hair stylist was pleased. I think I lost some weight; my wife would disagree. Life had opened up a little bit, hopefully safely.
Of course, the new normal is fully operational. I couldn’t enter the hair salon until summoned at the front door by a co-owner. During the cutting (mowing?), I wore a mask, as did my stylist. When things got tricky around my ears, I removed the strap and pushed my mask against my face.
As I understand, I was one of many happy clients. The stylists certainly seemed content. Why wouldn’t they be? Their business had opened after numerous weeks of closure prompted by coronavirus and its severe impact on personal convenience and economic health.
I couldn’t help smiling during the day. A minor burden had been removed. Symbolically, the old normal–though under new constraints–had reappeared. More is yet to come in what I hope is a measured, healthy process.
I spoke Wednesday about my shorn head with two friends, one in Easton and one in Needham, Mass. They both seemed surprised. One said he was not ready to do the same. The other said he couldn’t due to restrictions in his state; he also said that despite his “generous” ears, his hair had overgrown them.
Despite this lukewarm reaction, I was satisfied with my decision. It was calculated, not impulsive. The business owners and I were following Gov. Larry Hogan’s guidance. I will not judge those who choose to avoid close, albeit masked, situations.
We all must follow our own consciences.
It’s funny how the little things matter in our new, strange and upside-down world. A haircut was always a necessity, but not a major one (women might disagree). This week, it became a small mountain to climb, and so I did.
The line between a relief of economic stress and anti-coronavirus actions is a difficult one to navigate at a time when wants conflict with needs, underscored by a continuous battle to minimize a potentially fatal infection. Lockdown fatigue is also a factor in our behaviors.
Going back to my original intent to discuss my haircut in a slightly humorous way, I realized as I was writing this article that I best pay attention to a point of view that might question the wisdom of getting a haircut at this currently fraught time.
Still, I jumped (wish I could) at the chance to address my unkempt appearance. Talking (can’t resist) was more difficult. Looking in the mirror and seeing a masked man was a bit disconcerting.
I’m returning in four weeks. It seems right to me.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.