Not really a barber shop and not really very insightful, but here goes….
As I walked into the local Haircuts R Us, I was very grateful for the pause I took in the driveway. Remembering the online app offered by my “barber”, I found out there was a 3 minute wait at the location. Since I live about 4 minutes away, registering on line worked out well. It worked out even better when I saw the woman walk in with her two sons who had NOT signed in online. The receptionist/scissor-slinger walked me immediately back and began her work.
I had spoke with this woman before. She has talked about her growing up in Romania, and the ongoing problems the country faces. Having spoke to her about religious things in the past, I launched into some issue (maybe LGBT-related) where I was frustrated. After she politely let me finish (the scissors and trimmers shearing me the whole time), she let me know in a whispered voice about the new policy at this establishment. I was told they are no longer able to speak about religion, politics, or any other controversial topic. In hushed tones, she spoke slightly louder than her tools. Since our relationship predated the policy, I was a trusted person she could talk more openly with about those “crazy” subjects that are far more interesting than the weather….
I wish this was an isolated incident. I wish I was confident there was not a shift coming where conversations will need to be deeply guarded to prevent “offending” anyone who feels like they are being ridiculed. As my confidence dwindles, the foundations that our society is built upon are also crumbling. As Americans we all have rights. But, no American has more rights than other Americans–regardless of how loud they yell. I can pridefully say, “I am an American.”, but I continue to wonder if my country will soon be recognizable.