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My scissors clipped at long strands of hair, falling slowly to the floor while my subject cringed in hopes I wouldn't take too much off. It was a few minutes before we were relaxed enough to allow the story-telling to begin. Haircuts—whether at a barber shop or in an apartment's kitchen—carry on a strange societal tradition of the cuttee talking as though he or she is on a shrink's couch. Floodgates open; thoughts fall out of a person's mouth in an uninterrupted stream of consciousness. I trimmed and combed while listening. Hair shorter and stories told, another wall breaks down. A foot takes one step forward. Breath comes just a bit easier: We're all going to make it.
A young man sitting next to me on the Greyhound stopped in the middle of our conversation years ago to look out the window. Turning back to face me, he asked, "Ya know what romp-a-rooms are? The little rooms for kids where they can like, defy gravity? You remind me of those."
"Why?" I asked him.
"Just cuz you remind me of a place I've been."
Sometimes you get hopelessly lost and end up at an impossible spot you never could have gotten to even with directions. The planets align and you're led, as if by a water-finding stick or dowser. You arrive somewhere maybe you didn't want to go; or you get to a place different from where you thought you were headed. Maybe you weren't thinking at all, and then there you were. Your metaphorical hitchhiking thumb is in the air already: You haven't got a choice but to take the ride, along some circuitous route leading you to the people and places you most want to call home.