This morning, on my way to the office on 33rd Street, three things happened that I found weird, ironic and touching, although not necessarily in that order.
I decided I needed a haircut. Since my usual barbershop closed in Grand Central Terminal, I needed to find a new place. So today, I walked into a barbershop on West 35th Street. This place was a throw back to a time where men would hang out in the barbershop all day. The only difference was that instead of Floyd the barber, the men sitting around the shop all looked like Russian Mafia. You know, guys that you don’t want to owe money. Lots of black leather. The smell of cigarettes, which are not local. Interesting accents that reminded me of watching Boris and Natasha cartoons from my childhood. (Would you like glass tea?) And of course, when Serge pulled out a straight edge razor, I thought I might have said something to offend. Instead, he proceeded to give me a very nice haircut. He couldn’t have been nicer. I think I’ve found my new barber. I’ll have to ask a friend to teach me a few choice words in Russian for my next haircut.
No more than 15 steps outside of the barbershop, someone calling my name, stopped me on the street. I look up from my phone and I see an Art Director I worked with for a short time. “Peter? Wow it’s been a long time – how are you? What are you up to?” We stood there for a few minutes and exchanged work stories for a few minutes. I asked if he kept in touch with anyone, he asked how I liked my current job. You know those sort of questions you ask people who haven’t seen in 10 years. Then, just as we were about to walk in our separate ways, he stops and says the nicest thing anyone can say to a creative director. “I’ve always wanted to tell you something, when we worked together, you had an incredible influence on my career. You kicked my ass in ways nobody ever kicked it. You made me dig deeper than anyone before or after. Thank you. I’ve always wanted to tell you that.” I was floored. You always hope you have a positive influence on people. I was touched beyond belief.
I continue my walk to work, and I popped in my earphones to listen to music and mute the outside NYC noise. Right near my building were two women giving away bibles. Their display asked, “What can the bible tell you?” I found it ironic at that exact moment I was listening to REM’s “Losing my Religion.” I laughed to myself.
That all happened during my 10 block walk from Grand Central to 33rd Street. Perhaps I’ll kick someone ass today. But hopefully only in a positive way.