What’s Normal For You?

I have no real memory of my first haircut.

2016-07-20 13.59.43I was probably too young for it to make an impression, and I can only assume it must have been a non-event. I do remember sitting on a chair in the kitchen, towel wrapped around my neck, and dad commanding a pair of electric shears attempting to do what is cheaper at home than the buck or two at the barber shop. And, I remember going to a local shop with and without dad. Buzz cuts, straight razors around the hair line, less loose hair and the smell of all the tonics and potions.

Once, I remember an executive experience in downtown Houston. Hot towels. Shoe shine. Manicure. It was an expensive lesson that helped me to realize the fluff of the experience did not advance me at my job.

On the advice of a friend I attempted to go to a small, old time barber shop in Alaska. He cut a mole at the hair line and used hair from the floor to staunch the flow. Emergency doctor visit, and an additional 2 moles removed, and that haircut cost me $172! Never went back.

Through the years I have made it a habit of finding a good barber, and the good experience that goes along with it. Then, sticking with them until a relocation – either them, or me. There was a Super Cuts in Humble, TX that had a tremendously good cutter and I  went to her for about 5 years. Scott, at A Cut Above in Anchorage – about 7 years, and now Shannon at Master Cuts in Olympia…Easily 12 years. Shannon can get the job done in less than 7 minutes!

Often, emergency stops at unknown locations are times that I dread. They seldom understand my needs and instructions and I am seldom happy with the results. No Tip!

Yesterday, I could not wait. Shannon is on vacation. One shop was busy. The other shop had someone I trusted in the past and was happy with the results. If she lasts long in the area then she may be my new backup! She did a good job, if I say so myself! Thanks Ummi!

We experience our “usual” so much that we often are surprised when the ad-hoc experiences are not equally enjoyed. This revolves around restaurants, vacations, churches, doctors, dentists, and even libraries. These unusual experience taint our future choices and it often takes a while before we are able to build up trust with someone new.

Imagine if every time we did a “usual” task the experience was brand new! I’ve been to a Canadian McDonald’s on the edge of the Alaskan Highway that was new and different, and in Israel at the Dead Sea where it was even more different than anywhere else. Yet there was something about that familiar color and shape of the sign that made them worthy of an expenditure of time and money.

That first trip to Alaska in 1977, mom and I stopped at a KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) deep in Canada. I ordered a 9 piece all white crispy. They had no idea what I was talking about. “Sir, we just sell chicken!” I had to adapt my expectation to something I had accepted as normal back in Texas.

In Texas, last month, I had to get another haircut out of my normal routine and area. I chose the same company that I use here and now. I explained my needs and desires, only to have them trounced by a cutter that did not really comprehend… No. Maybe she just did not listen good. Regardless. No Tip, and an email to the store explaining what I was expecting was not what I received.

What is your customary experience, and what do you expect, when you visit another place that has the same name and serve the same stuff?

I heard a story about a service man who returned home from several tours overseas. Yesterday, the local news reported about it. He wanted to return to some normality of life, only he was now afflicted with PTSD and a host of other issues. He had a service animal that helped to calm him down when anxiety levels got high. The bartender told him he would have to leave, and a call to the owner at first agreed with the command only to relent a little later. Regardless, the soldier was offended because he could not re-enter life. Life was no longer Normal.

Jesus returned home to Nazareth after his time in the wilderness and re-entered life as he once knew it.

So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. (Luke 4:16 NKJV)

He was used to following the custom – of law and habit as lived the previous 30 years. The synagogue was always attended on the Sabbath. There was a routine and plenty of customs. Someone always stood up to read the assigned scripture. And the scripture was the same read every Sabbath across the country. The custom was to be on the “same page” as everyone else.

Custom. Habit. Expectation. Normalcy. Isn’t it sad what our new normal is becoming? Think about it. Nothing is the same as it was 40 or 50 years ago. Life has a new normal. Yet, there is coming a time when we will all face a new custom.

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. (Revelation 21:1 NKJV)

New heaven. New earth. The former no longer exists. We will have to adapt to the “new normal”… I’m thinking I’m about ready for it because this existing normal is getting to me!