Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sweet customers

Another stressful day at the orifice. I need a pick me up and decide to get that haircut I've not found time for. This means a visit to A my barber( see above). In a neighbourhood that has become synonymous with cool, good taste, A's barber shop is a homage to kitsch, throwback to mizrahi Israel of the 1970s, only more expensive. The place is a hall of mirrors, stuffed with flashy furniture. Above the sink where he washes your hair there used to be a water feature resembling a European castle and meadows. Now there is a hideous brass rendition of one naked child showering another. A completely bald and a man of many head coverings, is completely oblivious to the yuppie taste that surrounds him on all sides and is constantly dreaming up new ways to attract customers: a huge parrot in a huge cage, a million studs on each chair...

A confirmed bachelor, A also loves his work, is a peacenik but can turn nasty if you just turn up without making an appointment first. And when something's on his mind, however small, he gets a bit obsessive about it.

Today, A. was complaining bitterly that the electrician he had brought in to fix the fluorescent lights under the new sign he had just installed, had done a lousy job.

"I did the last one myself and it lasted for ten years. I'm a professional and I expect anyone who comes to work for me to be a professional too. I can tell you one thing, he won't be getting any more work from me!" (thump on chest).

"Well, maybe," I suggested, "you shouldn't take on people off the street."

"He's not off the street." A objected, "He works at the electricity shop!"

snip snip

"Next time I'll get an electrical engineer."


"An electrical engineer."

"You don't need an electrical engineer. You need a certified electrician."

"But with a certificate..."

My cell phone rang from my coat pocket. A, obviously experienced in these matters, deftly wheeled coat over to me and I talked while he cut, shifting the phone from ear to ear as his scissors circled.

In dashes Moti, friend of A, clad in motorcycle helmet with white scarf, flashes broad grin, extensively blesses everyone in the room and asks if we'd care to share glass with him. "Anything you like," he says, "whiskey, coffee..." A. finally agrees to a coffee.

I let A. do my eyebrows and ears as well.

"What a sweetie that guy is," grins A. shaking his bald pate. "How lucky I am to have such sweet customers!"

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