I walk out the door of the South End Bank of America and am blinded by the bright noon daylight. Blinking in the sunshine as my eyes adjust, I rummage around in my purse for my sunglasses. Seemingly out of nowhere a voice booms:
"I am so glad you dyed your hair back, honey. It makes me feel that everything 's right with the world!"
I turn around and find an old regular of mine from 647 has snuck up on me. "Oh my God, Rich, you scared me! Hi!!!" I say, and we exchange cheek kisses. "How are you, baby?"
Rich has been a regular at T647 since they opened: he was there on opening day, so he has been drinking at the place literally since Day 1. I worked at T647 for five years, but really only got to know him recently. Sure, I'd see him there drinking at the bar at least once or twice a week. But I don't think he ever actually talked to me until I was a blonde.
We shoot the breeze for a moment outside the bank, talk about our plans for the weekend, exchange bits of scripted speech about Toro & his real estate job, etc., before Rich goes on to say:
"You really look fabulous, honey. Your hair looks so great blonde. I mean, you're a beautiful girl, and so the brown hair looked alright..." He wrinkles his nose a little bit and gives his head a little shake, "but the blonde looks much better on you. It really suits you!"
"You always told me that," I smile, remembering that Rich and I didn't make friends when I was a little blonde: we didn't actually even had a conversation 'til I was a certifiable, nothing-natural-about-it blonde. And the day I dyed it brown, he was very vocal about his opinion. I think his exact words were: "Why 'd you do that? I don't like it."
Now, I'm not saying Rich he has a thing against brunettes or anything, because he's actually a real sweetie, and is friends with all of the brunette bartenders in the restaurant. Plus, it's not like I ever went out of my way to chat him up, either. I think we just saw each other so often that after a certain point, we were past the point of introduction. To walk up to one another and say, "Hey, I've been seeing you here every week for the past four years and never felt like introducing myself, but wanted to say hi now," well, it would have just felt weird.
"Stop it with the compliments," I say, "You're making me blush!" We say goodbye, and as I walk away, I smile to myself, I'm so glad that we finally did start talking to one another. Because if nothing else, Rich is honest.