Tag Archives: Relax

Day At The Barber

Take A Break

Once I was sitting in this barbershop, waiting to get my haircut. I usually don’t go to the barber; I usually just cut my own hair. I keep it as short as possible, sometimes even lathering it up every morning in the shower and shaving it with a razor. Sometimes, through sheer laziness, I’ll let it grow out a half-inch or so before I break out the shaver and cut it myself. I don’t have a particularly scientific way of cutting my hair; I basically use the same strategy as when I shave my face.

I just feel around and if it feels even, then it’s ok. Of course, several times I’ll catch myself in mirror and realize that I missed a spot. If it’s on my face, it’s no biggie; I just remember to be more careful the next day on that particular spot. If it’s on my head, however, then I feel a bit self-conscious and shave that area the first chance I get.

Sometimes, however, it just feels good to have somebody else cut my hair for once. Especially if they are old school, and break out the straight razor and the hot foam. It’s hard to find a barbershop these days that will do that among all the fashion places that are out there.

I remember once when I used to live in Taiwan, and I went to get my head shaved. It was the first time I’d ever had my head completely shaved, and I decided to go to a barber, instead of trying myself. I didn’t speak any Taiwanese, so I had to use gestures to get my point across, which I easier than you’d expect. Just by playing a game of charades you can understand how much you can get your point across using gestures and body language.

There’s even been a few case studies of the spontaneous development of completely new languages in a relatively short amount of time through only gestures. There was a time in a South American country where deaf children were thought to be somehow mentally deficient or something. So not much attention was given to them, or how to help them learn to communicate.

Then some missionaries came in, and set up a school for all the deaf kids. Within a few months, all the kids had developed a completely new language, based, obviously, only on hand signs. This was a full complete language, not just bunch of symbols that were used in place of sentences. These kids were speaking a language that contained all the grammatical requirements for an accepted language.

This case was used as evidence among transformational grammarians who believe that language is an innate instinct in humans, and not merely a learned trait. Our brains are pre-wired with certain grammatical rules. If you study any of the known languages of the world, they will all obey specific grammatical rules. Noam Chomsky even suggested that all the world’s languages are merely different dialects of the human language.

Most people that have traveled to a foreign country where their native language is not spoken quickly find out how far you can get on gestures, facial expressions, and body language.

So when I asked the barber to shave my head, I was expecting her to use a regular razor that you shave. The double-edged kind that is safely inside plastic case in order to minimize the danger of cutting. But what she did was lather up my head, and then to my shock she pulled out this huge straight razor, like something out of a Sweeny Todd movie. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. But after I survived without bleeding to death, I went back to hat shop several times during my stay in Taiwan to get my head shaved.

So every once in a while I like to hit up a regular barber, to relax and let somebody else do the work.

As I was sitting there, I wondered the barber has been such a frequent hang out of so many people. I’m usually the kind of guy that focuses on results, rather than process, but sometimes the process is the result. Just by sitting and waiting, and chewing the fat with all the folks sitting around, it somehow offers some kind of break from everyday life. Which is why I like this particular barber. Even though shaving my head with a number one or a number two razor really shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes, the guy that does it really takes his time. It’s nice to be the focus of such a concentrated effort.

Walk Away From Stress and Anxiety

Boy are my feet tired. I met some folks this afternoon at a coffee shop downtown. We were lucky enough because we got a couple of tables next to each other. It was really crowded. It’s really lucky when you find something that can help you achieve your accomplishments. The weather was also nice today, as I mentioned in another article. It’s great when good things that are unexpected happen. You can kind of enjoy the realization of the situation, you know?

It’s like my friend, who is training to be a nurse. She has to go to night school to study after her regular nursing shift. Which is kind of busy, because not only is she pregnant, but she has a six year old son, and her husband works full time as well. I don’t know how some people manage. I have enough trouble getting to work on time. But one thing that happened to her was her husband was suddenly promoted. And the extra pay he got was enough to pay for the extra day care they’ll be needing when the second baby decides to show up. So they were pretty happy about that. I think she mentioned what they were going to name the baby.

Sometimes, though, you are just going through life and it seems like you just can’t ever catch up. It seems like whenever one thing stops, another starts right away. And if you get lucky at work, and you have some not downtime, you all of a sudden get flooded with a bunch of other stuff you have to do. My friend who teaches yoga always tells me that the key is to keep focus on the inside. When I asked him about that, he said that no matter what is going on in the outside world, you are in charge of your internal state. You are in charge of whether or not you feel stressed, or feel relaxed. You can choose to feel relaxed whenever you are in a situation that you used to think was stressful. He said that when he is able to practice breathing, he can train his mind to release anxiety whenever it comes up. And he always tells me how useful it is to just take a minute whenever you’re stressed, and just breath deeply, imagine the stress and anxiety going into your breath, and then slowly breath all the stress and anxiety out. He also says that it is a really good idea to do this just before sleep, because you want to release your stress before you fall asleep.

Which is one of the reasons my friend is pretty excited about her baby. She is expecting in about a month or two, I think. She is a great example of a really attentive mother. Whenever she talks about her kids, her face really lights up. I can tell her children are really important to her. And her husband seems like a nice guy as well, although I’ve never met him. You can always tell how strong a marriage is by how well they speak of each other when they’re not around.

And the reason my feet are so tired is because not only did I walk around downtown after the coffee shop, (window shopping,) but I took the train in the other direction and went to a fairly new shopping mall with lots of restaurants, where I walked around a little bit more. I did buy a new pair of walking shoes, which I will try out tomorrow morning when I take my morning walk through the rice fields.


Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

I was watching that new movie recently, about that guy that goes on the adventure, and all the cool stuff happens to him. I forgot the name of the movie, and I’m terrible with names of actors so that’s pretty much the best I can do. There was part where he met a guy with a bunch of tattoos, and rode on a boat for a while. It was pretty interesting movie, and told an interesting metaphor about life, which I think can be valuable to anyone, despite where you are now.

I think he might have been the same guy that has been in a few other movies, and I think I’ve probably seen most of them. But as I write this, they are all kind of a blur, because one thing that I really enjoy is watching movies. I usually see one or even two movies a weekend, if there are enough new ones coming out. I really like to watch how the stories are structured, and  how the characters work together, and how they make the plot unfold completely spontaneous like they do. It’s really an amazing invention.

Makes me kind of wonder about who thinks up stuff like that. I mean one day, they had a bunch of pictures, and they were all looking at them, and then some guy came along and decided not only to make them sort of transparent, so you could shine light through them, but to make a bunch of transparent ones sort of similar, so that when you shone light through them and moved the pictures across the light really quickly, the light would shine on the wall and look real. And they just keep getting better and better. And the really fascinating thing is that despite all the advances in computer graphics and cameras and such, the basic concept is the same as it was when they first invented it.

And when I see a really good movie, I think to myself that I really want to share this. I really want to tell other people about this. Like when you see something that you really like and you can’t wait to tell other people about this. I think it is really a measure of how advanced humans are that we can share things with other people.

It kind of makes me wonder what movies will be like in a hundred years or so. Will they be the same or will they use the same basic technology they use today? Whatever they do, I’m sure it will be inside of a big theater. Because there is nothing cooler than sitting back in a dark theater with a huge bucket of popcorn and relaxing as you watch this story play out in front of you.

And that one movie was I think written by the same guy that wrote another movie that had the same kind of story. And there was something in there about a box of chocolates. Box of chocolates. Why does that make me feel like I need to go out and buy something? Am I missing something here? Or did I just forget. Oh well. Off to the movies I go.