Friday, 23 October 2009

Barbershop Buzzcuts

Cleveland has been our home for a mere 10 days though you wouldn't have known it by the swagger with which we showed my brother and sister-in-law around the place like we owned it. Actually, we were just excited to have them enjoy the market (3 times in just over a week?!) and indulge in Grandma Freda's delicacies - we are going to miss them when we get to Colombus on Monday! To build up our appetites (as if help is ever needed) we took a trip through the city's famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A plaque just outside proudly informed visitors that the genre started right here. Who'd have known? As you enter the Louvre like building all glass pyramid poised by what today was a rather misty drizzly view of Lake Erie. In we went after a quick bop in the rain to some tunes playing at the entry, catching the Sam-man just as he reached below a boundary rope to strum an exhibited guitar (where was his mother?!!!). After we gave in Cory's driver's license in exchange for a stroller (thats a pushchair to you and me, only drivers are qualified it would seem to operate large machinery) which by luck the little man relished sitting in (that's Sam not Cory). It probably helped that we sold it to him as a "car". Living with two actors the poor boy is smothered in a world of make believe. I wonder if sometimes he wished we would just be a little bit more literal about the real world. Anyhows, he and I left the gang behind as they immersed themselves on a thorough walk through rock and roll memorabilia, history, old film reels, costumes and cars. Elvis' Lincoln Continental more boat than car. I had my eyes on Bruce Springstein's Corvette myself. After taking in all the sights (ode to Michael Jackson a major feature) we went for refuelling at our favourite little chrome place at the West Side Market. The manager served us. My husband informed him he had "made the blog". His expression was a mixture of pride and disgust. He took a double take and then in recognition suddenly added, "Ah yes, the confused Yankee fans! Oh no, you got another one as well with you today'" gesturing to my brother in law. After an overdose on fried goods we scoured the market and stocked up in the Medittaranean cave once more. It was on our stroll to the car, arms heavy with luscious loads that we came upon the city's barber school. Looking through the back door, an open twirly curly white iron number a la 1970 we spied a flurry of barbers. Or should that be a buzz cut of barbers judging by the most popular style being created. It was alive with activity, young students, visions in white, lined the room on both sides by their classic red barber shop chairs under the hospital like flourescent glow of the strip lighting bouncing off the light linoleum. The owner came to us and not without some gybes about being yankee fans let us in. All 6ft 5 of him loomed above me and he loped as he walked every now and then barking out an instruction here and there. Cory is already sat with an energetic and very thorough student attacking his head (Igor likes to keep it short) by the time we get in. There are two women sat behind the desk who glare at me, one Irish the other Puerto Rican, neither of whom you would want to mess with on a dark night or a busy barber shop at 3 in the afternoon come to think about it. I am careful to ask before I start snapping. They reluctantly agree, though they have already given our son a bag of animal crackers (biscuits). I sit next to husband while he and barber exchange pleasantries and gossip not unlike what my hairdresser and I ponder on. Meaning of life, where you live, usual suspects. I glance around the shop doing a bad job of hiding the fact I am trying to soak up all the characters and atmosphere to detail in my blog later. I spy a few black men of a certain age getting a wet shave and the works, another man (white) there with his son both of whom are getting the same cut (could have been a bit less generous on the cutting away of the fringe for my liking but hey? They both looked like they were about to enroll in boot camp). I heard Puerto Rican lady dash over to correct another student in Spanish. What a fantastic hot pot of cultures. Despite the overdose in testosterone there was an orderly and controlled feel to the place. Everything done in brisk, but hushed tones. Now I understand why the women with the reins. $4 later, and having done a bad job of convincing son to copy the other 3 year old in the shop and have his haircut, we went back out into the rain. We were tempted to have a quick beer in the Great Lakes Brewery across the street, or a nice sip of wine at the cosy woody, dimly lit wine bar opposite, but the fear of rush hour traffic got the better of us. Any plans for us to take a jaunt around Tremont were also scuppered. This, apparently, is where its all at. A friendly artist at my favourite coffee haunt was incredibly informative, when I asked, perhaps a little rudely, why on earth this business was thriving where most others seem to be dying a slow and painful death. Five minutes later, and I was armed with a long list of haunts in Tremont, a neighbourhood delineated by its immigrant populations throughout the last century and a couple of interstates, for us to visit. Artist man explained that Cleveland isn't downtown its around the town. I had a feeling there may be some good Greek places somewhere around the city having passed an orthodox church on the way in from the airport. Where there is church, there is food. My list of to taste includes a chocolate shop (two of my favourite things in one sentence), a martini bar and another foodie place. We have hopes to hit them tomorrow before the matinnee show we are all seeing (Sam has given a scene by scene description to his aunt and uncle, I fear the surprise factor may be somewhat marred). A full day had by all. Now the peace of a late night in the comfort of family. The roast is marinading in the oven (not Amish this time), the butternut squash soup (made with a little Amish bacon) is ready for lunch and the boy is dreaming about Freddy Mercury's costumes. Beers are out, houmous will likely follow, runs have been done ( and a few weights lifted with the block's grunter - why must men with over developed triceps do that?!!!) and now the cosy of company is upon us (Cory warns them to watch what they say in the presence of blogger blogging). Best get off this machine if I don't want the moment to pass me by. I must not fall into the trap of living vicariously through my blog.

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