Updated: Jan 13
INTRODUCTION: From the day of its grand opening in 1989, I was a proud member of the very first service staff at the original Bub City Crabshack & BBQ, then located at 901 West Weed Street on Chicago's near north side. I worked there—putting myself through two university degrees—until moving to Spain in the summer of 1996. During and after my time working there, I began having dreams about Bub City, mostly involving being what we called "in the weeds," or overwhelmed by whatever tasks we were involved in at the time. I often found myself taking a toilet break only to realize I had a full station of customers that I'd left un-attended; or sneaking some food into a storage room not realizing my station had begun filling up at the beginning of a shift. After leaving Bub City, the dreams began being more about my returning to work after a long absence; always finding the restaurant having been renovated and not knowing where anything was or being familiar with the new staff. Curiously, many of my fellow Bub City co-workers have also experienced these "Bubmares" over the years. Similarly, I also have these types of frustrating dreams about going back to my old high school—where I was both a student in the late 1970s/early 1980s and where I taught as an English teacher during my two years of graduate school at DePaul University—where I was either late on my first day or disoriented and unable to find my way to my classroom. Last night, however, I had a very different—but very similar—type of dream as I dreamed about barbering for the first time since becoming a professional barber nearly three years ago. So, without further ado, here is the world premiere of my first ever Barbmare! I was the owner of an upscale men's hair salon on a very busy day with a flourish of activity; customers pouring in and out and my staff hustling about. Sitting in my office talking to one of my female staff members, I suddenly remembered I had a customer coming in and noticed I was late in receiving him at the reception desk. When I arrived, I was surprised to see the customer was my uncle Art, who was visiting from California. When I told him I had no idea he was my next customer, he told me he booked the appointment under an alias because he wanted his visit to be a surprise. Then, as if the excitement of seeing my uncle for the first time in years wasn't enough, my aunt Phyllis appeared and greeted me with a big hug saying that it took her longer than she thought it would to find a parking space. I escorted my aunt and uncle to the wash station where I proceeded to shampoo and condition my uncle's hair. I then walked them over to my workstation where I sat my uncle down in my chair while my aunt stood off to the side observing. My aunt said they were in a bit of a hurry and instructed me to give my uncle just a trim as her daughter—my cousin Tracey, who has been a professional hair stylist for more than 30 years—had given him a haircut before they left on their vacation. Then, my aunt said that most important of all, she wanted me clean up my uncle's chest hairs, that had become as unruly as they were unsightly. Never having been asked to trim anyone's chest hair before, I didn't want to make a big deal about it or seem unprofessional or unwilling to satisfy my aunt's quirky request, I proceeded to remove my uncle's shirt and recline my chair so that my uncle was lying flat. All the while, my staff members kept approaching me for consultations, questions and advice while I was trying calmly to snip away at my uncle's hairy chest. Finally, after a few minutes, my aunt said that I'd done a great job that I had cut enough hair away and that it was a huge improvement and that they were sorry but had to rush off. I walked them to the door and said goodbye. Walking back to the reception desk, I checked my appointment book to see I was already late for my next appointment and when I checked my watch it read 28 minutes past the hour, so I was nearly half an hour late for my next appointment. A tall and slender man wearing a brown leather jacket over a floral silk shirt walked into the shop and approached me saying he was late for his first appointment with Richard and I told him that was me and not to worry about being late that my last appointment went over time anyway. I asked the man his name and he replied that it was Jean Louis which, when checking the appointment book once again, wasn't the name of the customer I'd been expecting. I told the man to follow me inside. Then I woke up.