Small City Life

Last night I met Russ downtown for dinner. He walked up to the restaurant from his office. As we were sitting at our table a text came over Russ’ phone from a Tony, his barber. “Hair getting a little long?” the message read.

Turns out Tony drove past Russ while he was on his way to dinner and he recognized him, even with his long hair. It had been two months since Russ had gotten a haircut. We do have my cousin’s wedding to go to next weekend. It was perfect timing for Tony to call Russ out.

I love living in Durham. It is small enough that you pass people you know everywhere you go. This morning Russ and I drove up to the farmer’s market around 8:00. As Russ parked his Smart car, he put up the convertible top on the eleven year old vehicle. As he was doing it we looked up and saw our friend Southgate leaning over the balcony of his condo he and his family recently moved into.

“All the years I’ve seen you in that car I never knew it was a convertible,” he called down to us.

“Good to see you,” we called back.

Of course we saw plenty of people we knew at the market even though we just made a quick loop gathering vegetables for the week. We were going to Foster’s for breakfast on our way home.

As I was waiting to get a coffee from the thermos dispenser the girl in front of me used the last bit from the one that was available and she moved to the one that had a cup over the spout that read, “do not use” and got the rest of her coffee. She turned to me and said the other was empty. I called out in my loud voice to the employee that the coffee was out. The girl said, “You are a better citizen than I am.”

“No, I would have done the same thing in your case, I am just looking out for the person who comes up after we have left.”

She looked at me and said, “You must be from Durham. People are nice here.”

I told her yes and thanks as we parted ways. It is great to live in a place where visitors recognize we are nice. It is even better to live in a place where your barber is looking out for you.

Russ went off for his haircut after breakfast. Thanks, Tony.

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