The Tropicana has become our hangout. It’s got good espresso, Internet, courtesy flags, a gluten free sensitized owner and is very cruiser friendly. Add to that the fact that Lisa(the owner) is our goto girl for local information and you start to see why we stop in every time we walk down the street.
So yesterday we were walking down the street, the kids were doing well, and we had a few hours to kill before the laundry would be ready (or so we thought). I realized that it was high past time to get that haircut I had been talking about for the last 6 months. Knowing that Lisa would be able to point me in the right direction, I popped my head in and asked the question. “…the guy in the back is a barber,” she answered, turning back to her bookkeeping.
I walked to the patio and identified everyone but one guy, he was arguably “the guy in the back” so I boldly asked if he was a barber. “who told you that?” he countered with a sly grin. I told him that Lisa pointed me in his direction and he said, “well I’m a stylist, that means it takes longer.” “Great, that is just what I need. When are you available?” Billy the stylist looked at his watch, then at his cigarette and smiled, “let me just check with Lisa,” and he was off.
“Okay we have the go ahead,” he said pulling a plastic chair from a table and making an elaborate gesture of cleaning the seat for me. “Have a seat.” And just like that I was getting a haircut in my breakfast nook, cruiser hangout, Internet cafe, and now salon. Billy just whipped two pairs of shears and a comb from his left pocket and went to town. As he started to work I found out that he is also the ringleader of the sensational Flea Circus that everyone has been talking about. I felt compelled to ask what he had in his right pocket and was floored when he checked and found it empty, I had expected him to pull out a baby elephant or something.
While he cut my hair a Tongan came in and asked if he could go next. “I don’t want the George Clooney haircut this time, how about the John Travolta?” One patron took photos of the scene and others kibitzed. The whole scene was vaguely surreal, as if it could happen in the universe, but was just implausible enough that it never did happen.
Fifteen minutes later Vick and I strolled out of the Tropicana with huge grins plastered on our faces. I remembered back to when this trip was just a dream. I had often imagined that the highlights would be those things that I couldn’t even imagine from my then-current frame of reference. My Tropicana haircut was probably the best example of this frame-of-reference-shift I could have hoped for.