Tuesday, November 29, 2016

À la retraite

  Many people told Teresa that adjustment to retirement would take six months, maybe longer. When she retired on September first, I took her on the road for two months. We explored the nooks and crannies of the United States.  It was wonderfully diverting, but on November 1 she had to face reality.
  She says that on some days the hours between breakfast and supper yawn like an abyss. Which to me is odd. When I sense a yawn I take a nap. My days are filled with lots of little jobs, sweeping the front steps, checking the mouse traps, keeping up with the mags, lathering butter and honey on English muffins, boiling tea. The days are chockablock full.
  I know Teresa will develop a routine, but right now she's in the twilight zone. Just yesterday she accompanied me to the barbershop. Unheard of! Not that I 'm embarrassed to have my wife telling my barber what to do. One of the joys of getting old is that you give less of a rip what people think with every passing year. It's just that going to the barber has always been a very masculine thing for me. My father took me to my early visits to Tony the barber. Tony had a wedge shaped shop on a busy avenue a five minute walk from our house. There were two barber chairs but only one Tony. Perhaps his partner had retired, maybe his father. Tony was from Italy. A mandolin hung on the wall. Maybe Tony plucked it when business was slow. Tony was a quiet man. He always looked like he was on the verge of a burp. "You wanta the bangs?" as I settled in his chair and "Thank you," when I handed him my dime were all I ever heard from him.
  Teresa has always been more concerned about my appearance than I am. She's generally dissatisfied with the jobs my various barbers have done. I have tried beauty shops but that always felt so inappropriate. She herself is constantly switching operators because they never listen to her.
  I think Teresa enjoyed her visit to my male precinct yesterday. I have this phobia about sitting in a barbershop waiting for others to have their hair cut. I think it goes back to Tony's shop where ladies of the night leered at me from the cover of The Police Gazette. So I always get to the shop at 7:50 a.m., ten minutes before my barber, Brot by name, arrives. If I arrive at 7:55 there will already be some other joker sitting there in his pickup. Teresa pinged me about having to sit in front of Brot's darkened shop. "What if he doesn't show up?" she wondered. I kept my mouth shut. At 8:03 the OPEN sign flickered to life and I dashed to my swivel chair, making some lame joke about my companion.
  Sure enough two more heads arrived and a five way banter ensued. Teresa said my main problem at the moment was my unruly cowlick. Brot said the problem was that my head was like a weather map full of lows and highs all swirling together over Saskatchewan. But he was sweet about it. He said he'd trade my four cowlicks for his bald pate in a heartbeat. Then he burped.



1 comment:

Joe said...

Please tell Teresa I'll be at Brenda's today, 11:00am, should she want some companionship beyond burping barbers.