01:44:59 am on
Saturday 24 Oct 2020

Matrix Barber Shop
AJ Robinson

When I was in college, the matrix was all about things like linear algebra or cracking a secret message or puzzle. More recently, most people think of it as a movie. For me and my family, it has become the local barber shop.

Virus effects small businesses, most.

These days, what with corona keeping everyone at a distance, businesses are suffering, especially locally owned establishments. I’m lucky, I’m working as an engineer, again, and my company lets me work remotely from home. I’ve not suffered any sort of disruption of work.

I think back to when I was a bartender, even one working at Disney World, and realize how fortunate I am right now. If I were still doing that, despite how much I loved being a cast member at one of the Disney parks, I probably would be unemployed right now. No, not now, I would have been out of work for months; laid off back in April.

Considering how minimal unemployment insurance payments are in the state of Florida. When you keep in mind that Congress has done nothing to help such people. I and my family are fortunate we’re not totally screwed, as are many people.

I feel I should be precise here. The Democrats passed an aid package to help the common workers, but the Republicans in the senate refuse to even consider it. No, giving ordinary people a few extra hundred dollars a week is too much.

Bailing out the rich and huge corporations; that’s business as usual for Mitch McConnell. Helping those that need help is not for McConnell, who is worth twenty-five million dollars or more.

My family is fortunate.

The point is that my family and I have a stable income and can make ends meet. Yet, we know what it’s like to struggle, we well remember how tough it was! So, we’re doing our part, however minimal, to help others.

We hired painters to do the hall, a handyman to fix a window and a plumber to work on the kitchen sink. We go to restaurants as often as we feel is safe and tip very well. And we also make a point of shopping at local stores.

After all, the big stores, the national chains, have resources. Some small local companies are not so lucky. In the case of Matrix Barber.

Matrix Barber is a block from our house. It’s a very small business. Thus, we make a point of going there for haircuts.

Damian, our foster son loves hows they style his hair. It’s just the way he likes. Me, I get the old zip-zip and I’m done.

I’ve never been one to worry about something fancy for my hair. After all, as Jo Ann tells me: I don’t have that much left to cut. That Matrix Barber is also a minority owned business is another plus and it’s clear they make every effort to please their clientele.

The lead barber took care of us, last time. He remembered Damian loved basketball and was attending the local Middle School. They chatted about what he’d been going through ever since his school went to remote or virtual learning and he can’t play basketball with any of his friends, which is tough for a young teen boy to deal with.

Getting to chat with a cool dude who also knows how to style your hair is a nice diversion. My cut was much quicker, as you might imagine, and I made a point of giving him an especially good tip. We will make a point of coming back.

The importance personal service.

We won’t return to Matrix Barber merely to support a local business, although that’s part of why. No, the more traditional personal service has much value, especially in these troubling times. After all, he’s the only one who knows just exactly how Damian likes his hair done.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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