But enough about you . . .

I was walking up Pine and I stopped at Seventh, waiting for the light to change. A weathered old Indian man with a backpack stopped at the same spot and asked me for change and I turned him down.

He studied me for a few more seconds and said, “Did they make you get that haircut?”

“No,” I answered, not sure who “they” referred to.

“It looks like you got really drunk and cut your own hair.”

I looked at him, laughing. “Wow, thanks!”

This encouraged him and he made a couple of more comments – not aggressive or taunting, just careless and matter of fact.

When I got home, I looked in the mirror. There’s a spot where my hair doesn’t blend exactly right, as if I had gotten up just before the barber had finished. The right third of my bangs stand straight up in an inherited cowlick and I’m starting to thin out in back. He probably has a point.

Back at the corner, I laughed a little more, and thanked him for being honest. He stood there passively. I should’ve given him my change, that was definitely worth fifty cents.

Categorized as Before