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My Armenian Haircut

Today I subjected myself to my first haircut since arriving in Armenia. I survived and am actually pretty impressed with the craftsmanship and sense of purpose the barber showed. And I like the result, though it’s not my typical style.

I’ve been in need of a cut for quite some time now. As far as I can tell, the only place to get your hair cut is in a place marked Beauty Parlor or Beauty Salon. They serve both men and women – for men the going rate for places I’ve seen is 1,000-2,000 Dram, or about $3-5 USD. There are lots of these shops all over the city and there happens to be a place across the street from the apartment. That’s convenient. I went in and in broken English and broken Russian we mostly understood each other. Hair cut. Normalnaya? Da. Ok – Sit.

First wet and comb. Comb. Part. Comb. Part. Repart. The barber was meticulous, though I rarely my fingers through it much less a comb. He got the part straight as an incision. My hair lay open to his scalpel.

He started cutting by thinning first. Usually that’s saved for last. I was hoping he’d cut it shorter than it was at some point. Soon hair rained down Pools of hair form on the blue apron like dark rain on a tarp. After a while of this, it was indeed shorter. Just through attrition of the thinning shears eventually every hair was shortened to some degree.

Then he sets down the thinning shears and with a snap grabs clippers. Moves on to scissors again with a snap. A dozen or so changes, a dozen or so snaps. A couple of times he left it out.

20120430-191509.jpgAlways with the look of grim determination of a sculptor. Assessing, analyzing, adjusting. Every once in a while a look of surprise, then his lower lip would extend with a smidgen of pride. He labored over my hair with the intensity of one go has thrown himself into the task at hand. Every minute or so the comb would reappear to redefine the part and to straighten and push my uncooperative hair into shape.

The last step was a 15 minute comb solo, shaping, wetting, combing, blow drying, more wetting, a snip here and there for perfection. Finally, he proudly stepped back and with a pat on my shoulder silently announced that he was finished with me. A stylish Russian haircut.

What do you think of the result?

 

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Selling Everything To Travel The World

I put the following ad on Craigslist a couple of weeks ago.

As the title says, selling everything I own to go out and travel. Not giving up on materialism, just pawning it. There’s much more of the world out there than in here anyway; I’m not getting rid of anything but attachment to these things. But forget the metaphysics, you’re here about the stuff for sale.

No reasonable offer refused. Unreasonable, impossible or quixotic offers encouraged. Everything for sale except soul (it’s a bit tattered but I still want to keep it). A partial list:

  • Vintage stereo gear
  • Beds
  • CF light bulbs
  • Knife set
  • My grandmother’s iron skillet
  • Pollen
  • Halloween and Christmas decorations
  • Table
  • Guitar
  • Mystery gifts
  • Furniture
  • Blank CDs
  • Egg timer
  • Books
  • XL t-shirts
  • Really big kids’ night shirts
  • Pre-cut-up-rags
  • Dressers
  • Empty boxes
  • Unused toilet paper
  • Halloween and Christmas decorations
  • A sombrero
  • My former work clothes
  • Maps
  • Car
  • A broken clock that came with the house (it may be fixable, I haven’t taken it off the wall to find out)
  • Glassware, barware, silverware, underwear (update: already sold the underwear)
  • Lots and lots of computer stuff, including servers, laptops, cables, routers, hubs, switches, monitors, etc.
  • …and many other things

All items sold as-is, but will be accurately described. Cause I’ve got karma to worry about!

So what’s in my future? Thanks for asking! Heading to Armenia for about 6-months. Then, who knows. Love to go to Argentina for a while so maybe I’ll work on that. India would be cool. And I haven’t been to Africa or Antarctica yet so those are on my list at some point. Oh, speaking of which I’ve got travel books for sale too. You never know when you’ll want to know where the blues bar is in Riga (sorry, they don’t do BBQ there). Or break a tooth in Tibet and need to find a dentist (your choices there are pretty grim, but the military hospital can patch you up).

I’m going to try making a living blogging (http://meanderingwoods.com – tell your friends) and photography. Maybe dabble in a little geopolitical discourse. Maybe set up a food stand and sell fish tacos wherever I am. That’d be a novelty in Russia! You know, whatever.

I got rid of a lot of stuff, made a few dollars and met a lot of cool people. And some weirdos too, like the guy who yelled at me for not being at home at 10pm the night before the yard sale when he came banging on my door. But mostly good folks, many interested in hearing my story as much as shopping.

Some of what I sold I was happy to be rid of. I sold off some furniture that I had no real attachment to, and some old stuff that was cluttering up my place but that I couldn’t bear to just throw out. Selling it off was a bonus – getting money to have people come and clean up.

But some of my stuff was hard to get rid of. I’d spent a lifetime acquiring and admiring it, and now I was giving it up. Like backpacks I took through Europe, books I enjoyed reading and kind of wanted to keep, my bed and sheets that I spent so many mornings of refuge in, while we both cursed the alarm clock for ringing so loudly so early.  It wasn’t just that I ws letting go of these things, it was that the value I placed on them personally was so much more than the yard sale value. And that was hard. If I’d parted with a precious object for $1M I’d feel adequately compensated. But for $1 it hurt.

But that was a cathartic process. Getting rid of the old things that kept me tied down. That freed me up to truly feel like I could travel without leaving so much behind. And that was good.