On Settling In

So. For those of you keeping up with my adventures abroad, it’s been some time since I posted. But here we are again. This post might be a bit banal, but such is life at times. The quotidian activities make up the vast majority of life. So read (or don’t) about my mini adventures in London.

Apparently, London has quite the fox population. As I live quite close to a park, I see them occasionally roaming the streets, but yesterday was an exception. In the span of only a few hours, I came within a few feet of several of these night walkers. I was going to visit a friend and, as I was running behind/hadn’t eaten dinner, I slapped together a PB&J and headed out the door. As I was walking past the park, I saw something sitting on the pavement ahead of me. At first glance, I thought it was a dog and looked around for an owner, but upon closer inspection I realised it was one of my bushy tailed friends. I kept walking towards it, as they are usually very skittish and run away before you can get close to them. But this one was just watching me as I drew near. I stopped a few feet from it and we looked at each other for a minute: I with my PB&J and it with its tail wrapped around its legs. My fascination with foxes encouraged me to offer some of my sandwich to this adorable creature. I reached out to it with my sandwich in hand and it slowly walked toward me. Upon obtaining the remainder of my dinner, it quickly scarpered out of sight.

Thinking that would be the only fox I saw this evening and the closest I would ever get to one, I kept walking toward the train station. When I arrived at my friend’s apartment, he was running a bit late as well, so I sat down to wait for him. I was trying to finish The Help that evening (which I did) and I guess I had become quite still, as another fox came trotting down the street. It came so close that, had I reached out my hand, I could have touched it. But I refrained. My fellow night walker went on his merry way and my friend arrived a few minutes later. So that’s my fox story.

And here begins the more mundane adventures… I’ve been searching for a decent barber for a while and I finally found one that wasn’t vastly overpriced and which seemed to leave its patrons satisfied. It’s a tiny little shop in Soho, so I felt confident that I would walk away with a decent haircut. I entered and was greeted by the The Weeknd playing on the stereo and a warm atmosphere. Mirrors lined the walls (as they should) and there were a few customers having their tresses trimmed. A chair was open in the rear of the shop to which I was led by the woman who would be cutting my hair.

It’s been a long time since a woman cut my hair. It might seem a bit sexist, but I had this idea that a man should be cutting men’s hair. Maybe it’s just that most barbers are men. Either way, she certainly proved me wrong. She quickly went to work, shaping my unseemly mop of hair into something reasonable and short. Her hands moved quickly, snipping away at my hair, giving it texture and thinning out the dense mass that it had become. I swear it’s gotten thicker since I moved here… It was strange to feel a woman’s hands in my hair, strong but soft. They weren’t like those of the barbers I’ve been to most of my life. Mike is an avid fisherman and hunter and his hands are rough, calloused. Jorge’s hands were manicured and smooth, but not as small as the woman currently cutting away. It was certainly an interesting feeling and I relished in it.

I love getting my hair cut because the whole experience is very sensual. Feeling clippers buzz away the mane; fingers running through the hair as they measure the appropriate length, shearing the weeks of growth away; the gentle pull of the scissors as they clip though dry hair, adding texture. Auditory, tangible, olfactory, and the final result – visual. Haircuts can leave you with a feeling of confidence and contentment or distaste and disdain, but a decent haircut will do wonders. Being the vain person I am, I love to watch myself in the mirror as my hair transforms from one look to another and I am currently quite content. My head having been unfettered from the manacles of hair restricting it, I now feel as though my thoughts flow more freely. Made it a bit hard to concentrate on Shakespeare, so I decided to write this instead…

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention… I finally received my trial pair of contacts today. I went in for the “teaching appointment” and the kind people at Specsavers walked me through the steps of putting in and taking out contact lenses. No one warns you about the ridiculous faces you will inevitably make upon attempting to place contacts onto your eyeball. Well, at least I made some pretty strange faces. Let me tell you, dear reader, I looked like a crazy person. I swear I can’t open my eyes wide enough to get the lens to stick… It was very frustrating. But I finally accomplished the Herculean task and away I went, contacts intact and my face freed from the contraption of metal and plastic that are glasses. As a friend of mine so eloquently put it, it’s like switching to HDTV. There are no constraints to your field of vision. I assume this is what it is like for people who have perfect vision. I wouldn’t know. But away I go to see more of the world through corrective lenses. (Hmm… Strange. See the world through “corrective” lenses… So many interpretations of such a simple statement… Disregard my philosophical musing.)

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