Icons: Part Two of my First Experiences with Dr. Berger

Continuing the my story from my last post, I had just agreed to get my hair cut with a professor, of whom I had considerable doubts on whether he could remember my name or not.

So the big Tuesday came…

And nothing happened. In all honesty, I hadn’t made that much of an effort to keep this engagement. Based on my prior contact with the professor, I wasn’t entirely sure if the offer had been a real one and not just a joke. I showed up at our meeting spot that Tuesday, but something must have occupied him that day, or perhaps it had slipped his mind. In any case, I went about my regular Tuesday classes and dismissed it as just a strange occurrence.

By this point, spring semester had already been waning and the year came to a close without me getting my haircut with Dr. Berger. But this story was not destined to be closed with just the ending of my school term.

The scene was set again. I was sitting in the cafeteria eating breakfast, this time with a few friends after class. Smiling, he walked up to my table and asks, as if we had only discussed it the day before, “So when are we going to get that haircut?”

This time I was resolved: I wasn’t sure why I was being singled out, but I wasn’t going to let this drop off my radar again. Whether this was a joke, or sincere interest, this was round two.

I met him at his bench around 11:40, again on a Tuesday. We walk across the campus, and climb into his tiny four-door Toyota. We drive into the center of downtown Caldwell, to a little barbershop on Arthur street called “Dino’s”.

It was incredibly quaint, in tune with much of the atmosphere of the city. Much of what you can find in Caldwell almost feels as if it belongs in another era, as if the town is existing in a mist that holds it perpetually in the gritty dust of the west during the ’80s.

I was set into a chair, and Berger chatted with the barber about the election (which had coincided with this day).

My hair hadn’t been that short since grade-school. In any case, the barber finished up my cut, and afterwards we departed to Orphan Annie’s, a local favorite of Caldwell-dwellers.

Looking back on this afternoon with Berger, it was something that was both strange and mundane at the same time. I didn’t really expect to start a friendship with a professor with a haircut, but that lunch with Berger created something lasting that has become part of my daily routine on the campus.

PHOTO: The inside looks exactly like what you would imagine.

-Andrew Moore