January 21: my favourite barber

I went to the barbers the other week. This is a more complicated procedure than you might think. It is a barbers, not a hairdressers. You don’t fix appointments; you just turn up and one of the three barbers will see you. There is a problem because I have realised that I want my hair cut by only one of the three barbers but the culture is that you just take the next one available. This is sacrosanct; you cannot say no, I’ll wait till Dinos or whatever he is called is free..Such a request would make me ridiculous in the eyes of the clientele. So on a rainy Tuesday night I stood on the other side of the street peering surreptitiously through my barber’s window trying to work out when to be next in line for my favourite barber. The calculation proved beyond me, so I got the bus home. I came back again the next morbing at 9.15. The barbers is open from 9-6. My guess was that the hour from 9-10, less frequented by punters, would be just one barber. I know my barber lives in Fulham. I knew the other two barbers lived in Bromley. Bromley is further away. They would prefer to start late and they were both married. My favourite barber was not married. He would be the one to do the first hour alone. My calculations seemed to prove correct. At 9.15 he was cutting the hair of an elderly man. There was no-one else on the floor. It was a risk because the door to the backroom was slightly open. It could be that one of the other barbers would stride out the moment I set foot in the cutting floor and envelope me in the barber’s sheet. But my calculations proved correct. When I was leaving the barbers with my new and satisfactory haircut one of the Bromley barbers was coming in. Hiya, I chirped jovially. I think I’ve cracked the system.

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