Yesterday I went to Bledi's new salon so he could cut my hair. Bledi used to date one of our baristas, and after they broke up, we all knew him and so it was hard not still to be friends. He used to say I should go to him to get my haircut, so I scraped together my Starbucks tips and went, and since then I've kept scraping together spare change, because I've never had somebody cut my hair just the way I wanted it before Bledi. But he switched salons in January (about a week after my last haircut), and yesterday was my first visit to the new one. It's definitely a step up. Now I can say I not only have the best haircut of my life, but also the most expensive one. It's a good thing tips were really great last week.
At this new salon, you walk in the door and they offer you a choice of water, tea, coffee, beer or wine. It's "complimentary." I requested water, but seriously, if there's ever a next time and I have to pay as much for my haircut as I paid yesterday, I'm getting the wine. I don't care what time of day it is.
Along with the drinks, each client gets a brief scalp and shoulder massage before their shampoo. I really liked that part. Massages are definitely a great thing.
And then during the haircut, there is, of course, conversation. It helps that I already know Bledi. On the other hand, it means that our conversations are usually sort of the same, because we don't know each other that well. Mostly they're about how he's still with his girlfriend but they don't have that much in common and he isn't very happy, and how I'm still not with a boyfriend. Yesterday I told him about my book contract because it was something new to talk about, and because I thought he might be interested since he's Albanian. The first time he ever cut my hair, we talked about God, but he got caustic and belligerent and hurtful, and so, in spite of my frequent conversational propensities, I usually try to avoid the topic with him.
But yesterday I asked him if he had celebrated Easter. He laughed and said no but that he and his friends had made fun of the priest. He wanted to talk about the irony of the fact that "religious people" are always trying to "change" people, when the Bible doesn't actually tell you to go out and try to get people to believe in Jesus.
"Um, actually, it does," I said.
Then he wanted to talk about how the Qur'an doesn't tell you to go out and try to kill people.
"Um, actually, it does," I said.
Then he said something (the precise nature of which I forget) which was basically an open invitation for me to present the Gospel to him or something, and I didn't. I sat there while he snipped at my hair, fully aware that I really could say something and probably really should say something and that the something wouldn't be that hard to come up with. And I didn't say a word.
While I was sitting there rebelliously not saying a word, I was also trying to figure out why. I can talk about Easter to Zombie-Boy at Trader Joe's without much batting an eye. I can discuss Jesus and faith and life with The Item for hours. But not Bledi.
Of course, I don't really know Zombie-Boy, so there's nothing to threaten if either of us says something totally off-putting to the other. Who cares? I'm just there to do my grocery shopping, is all. And I do really know The Item. We have enough mutual trust that we can disagree with each other pretty vehemently (usually I'm the vehement one) and know it's still going to be okay. But Bledi? Bledi cuts my hair. I know him well enough not to want to jeopardise the acquaintance, but not well enough to trust that it won't be jeopardised. Talking about God makes him angry, and his anger is an unknown quantity to me. I don't want to risk, in this particular scenario.
I sat there, as he dried my hair, wondering what would have been the right thing to do, really. The Bible says to preach the word "whether the time is favorable or not." It wasn't. But I still didn't. Then again, when Jesus sent His disciples out evangelising the first time, He apparently felt there was a time when "unfavourable" was final. I've never known exactly what the balance is between those two approaches. But I'm not entirely sure I should be the one to decide when God's done giving someone second chances. I just don't know how to talk to Bledi. But maybe the point isn't whether or not I trust Bledi. Surely the point is whether or not I trust Jesus.