He stood on his front porch in the early morning light. Content. Satisfied. Relaxed. I was walking the dog, who at the time had stopped to bury her nose in what I hoped was just a tuft of grass. It was hard to tell since dawn had yet to lift the shade on the day to let the Sun in.
Initially, I thought he was enjoying his first cup of coffee while listening to the birds chatter and warble themselves awake.
Or maybe he was smoking a cigarette, a habit he’d been trying to kick for years, but until he succeeded, the activity would happen – by family decree – outside and away from others.
“Or maybe,” I thought, “he’s contemplating something important, serious or grave, figuring out his next move after receiving a devastating phone call,” at that time of day when the only phone calls you receive are the devastating kind.
As I got closer, I heard a familiar sound, but when presented out of context became somewhat foreign. It was a low hum, not natural like the wings of a hummingbird, but manufactured like that of a tool or gadget.
As I passed him from across the street, I realized the sound was the hum of an electric razor.
This man was shaving, a completely acceptable and normal morning activity, taking place in what seemed like an odd setting, one’s front porch. At first, I thought maybe he was multi-tasking, putting the dog out while he shaved in an effort to save time as he went through his busy morning. But I looked and saw no dog (or any other living being, other than myself and my dog) within 100 or maybe 1,000 yards
He just stood there, staring into “something” as he shaved (the distance, the “abyss,” his future, the picture window of the neighbor’s house across the street).
From what I could tell, he was in no hurry. To the contrary, he was simply standing there, enjoying a nice morning shave. After all, it was his right to do so -- his house, his time, his razor -- and who was I to tell him otherwise? (Besides, it would have been odd, rude and creepy if I had.)
Far as I know, there’s no law (federal, state or local) or moral code that says a citizen can’t enjoy a good shave wherever or whenever he or she wants. He wasn’t bothering anyone, and the hum of the razor certainly wasn’t waking neighbors or family members. (The birds had assumed that responsibility.)
Yet, it struck me, one of those moments (you’ve had them, too) when you see something out of context, or done in a way or place that catches you off-guard.
When I see things like this, at first, I wonder, speculating what compelled the person to choose to participate in the activity at that “out of context” place or time.
Not to judge them, just to wonder because it’s fun to wonder sometimes.
Then, assuming they’re doing that activity because they’ve chosen to (or for some other valid reason which I have no right to make any of my business), and they’re not hurting or otherwise affecting anyone else, they’re not causing harm, not offending or abusing human or animal (including themselves), I usually smile, appreciate the quirkiness and uniqueness of the moment and go on my way, thinking to myself, “Way to go, friend. You do you, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
And, that’s just what I did. I quietly and inconspicuously observed this man enjoying a relaxing shave on his front porch on a cool, spring morning. And, after quietly speculating what would prompt him to choose that place for that activity, I realized he was 100 percent happy and satisfied with his surroundings, the moment and completely comfortable in his own (soon to be clean-shaven) skin.
I respect and applaud that, and I hope it brought him peace and started his day off on the right foot.
© 2020 David R. Haznaw