Thursday, June 26, 2008

There was quite a lively discussion going on yesterday in the barbershop. The barbershop's version of an intern is named Lonnie, and it is his job to sweep up the hair and run errands for the barbers when they cannot get away. Each of the 10 barbers tips him about 2 or 3 dollars per errand in addition to whatever small salary he gets for doing other things around the shop. Lonnie is about 16 years old, and I have been seeing him in the shop for a few years, and he is a damn good kid. Sure he has a smart mouth at times, but its never disrespectful if that makes sense.

Well yesterday, Lonnie was took a two hour break, instead of the required hour he is allotted. Before he came back from his break, some of the barbers were irate that he was taking so long, because they knew he was with his girlfriend. One of the loudest barbers named Tony, was saying that if this were any other job, he would certainly be fired for such blatant disrespect(surely he hasn't met the people in charge of my intern). Tony went on to say that kids these days need to know right from wrong, and if its not nipped in the bud early, it can escalate. Some of the other barbers felt like he should get the benefit of the doubt, because this was his first offense, and clearly this girl had his nose open. Still, Tony and the barbers on his side, said the first time is one time too many..girl or no girl.

So about 15 minutes into this heated argument, Lonnie and his girl walk in the shop. Because he had been gone so long, there about 4 errands that the barbers needed him to run, and they all got smart with him in the process saying that he needed to be working not hugged with his lady. Of course Lonnie's lady couldn't say a damn thing, because she was grossly outnumbered so she remained quiet, until Lonnie got his errand instructions and then they both left out 5 minutes later. The argument continued right after they left, and both sides continued to make their point. Meanwhile, my hair STILL hadn't been cut.

15 minutes later, Lonnie strolled back in the shop with vengeance, and he started screaming(he must be mid-puberty, so imagine Michael Jackson trying to yell at someone) at the other barbers. He passionately explained that this was the only time he had with his girl, and he didn't appreciate being "disrespected". Some barbers were like, that's unacceptable seeing how we are paying you to cater to us. Other barbers were like you can spend an extended time with your girl, but you have to tell someone you're going to be gone for a long time, so we know to schedule our errands around your absence. Well all this parental advice/scolding was too much for little Lonnie, and he started crying. He wasn't all out crying, but little tears were coming down his face, and I felt bad for Lonnie...kinda.

I imagine my old intern being like Lonnie five years ago, which means I have no problem giving tough love early. But there is a way to teach a lesson without being overly hard..especially since he is a good kid. I'd have told him that he was dead wrong, and if he did it again, he'd be fired, without being paid for that day. I also would not have paid him at all for yesterday, in an effort to teach him a lesson. But when he came in tomorrow, I would treat him like nothing happened. I think that's fair. By the time I left the shop, the barbers had gone on to other conversations, and Lonnie had stopped crying, but I could see the wheels in his little head still turning. I suspect that this is Lonnie's first girlfriend, and just based on looking at her, she probably has his nose WIDE open, and he can't stand to leave her presence. I've been there before at his age, so I totally understand. But he can't lose sight of his priorities either..I wonder how my son will be at that age..


Anonymous said...

*sings* A Teenage love...A Teenage love...

Miss Black River said...

Poor Lonnie - they shouldn't have gone after him in front of the girl and all. That's embarrassing.

lex said...

i am such a softy. I feel bad for poor lonnie. Teenage years are always in tumult. Its a period of bad decisions,self doubt,and endless questions.

That being said, i'd probably have gone easy on the kid, being that kids are stupid at that age. I certainly would not have wanted to make him cry. He probably felt was quite humiliated when he went home.

Then again, its good that somebody took the time to tell him what is and is not acceptable behavior. And if he's smart, he'll separate the message from the delivery and learn from this incident.

Rock on lonnie!

nicole said...

ahhhhh... I feel bad for Lonnie. But it was kinda stupid for him to try to man up to the grown-man barbers and then he cried! I remember being 16 and having another 16 yr old's nose WIDE open. It's no joke. It even has LONG LASTING effects. I can't get rid of this n*gga!

But Lil' Lonnie needs to learn a lesson. 2 hour lunch breaks are unacceptable and someone will have their mouth open about it afterwards. Good story, thanks for sharing.