Yesterday I embarked on the tried and true ritual of stopping by my favourite Italian barbershop, "Guido's" on Lonsdale Avenue, for a much needed taming of my unruly hair. Guido's is an institution of sorts in North Vancouver. The original owner Guido sold it a few years ago, though the place retains the name due to it's local notoriety. I started going there when I moved to BC in 1997, and I have been going there ever since.
It is your basic no frills old school type barber shop where you can sit by the window and watch people walk up and down the main street while getting a trim. It makes me feel like I am in some surreal 21st century version of a Norman Rockwell painting, where it is more multicultural and everyone has either a cell phone or an iPod plugged into their head - the future is now!
I thought that it was endearing that my Kurdish barber decided tried to make small talk about hockey, and to his instant relief I brought up the recent Euro soccer tournament. In many ways it is liberating to be away from the world of suburban shopping malls (something I grew up with) and have that authentic main street experience where you walk around, buy a book or some good magazines and sit down at any one of a gazillion coffee shops and watch the world go by.
It makes me feel more human to have this visceral community experience - fire trucks occasionally buzzing by, overly caffeinated & chain smoking groups of labourers taking a break on a patio, hoodie draped teens zipping past on skateboards, people talking too loudly on their cell phones, - it is all a wonderful din of noise and bustling life that invigorates my senses and every now and then I like to breath it all in.