Alan has been cutting our hair in Los Angeles for years. Michael's been going to him for 14-15 years, then I hopped on the Alan bandwagon about 9 years ago. One of the hardest parts about leaving Los Angeles was the prospect of being without a fantastic hair stylist for a year. So when Alan told us he'd be visiting his family in Lynchburg, Virginia for a month, we agreed that 5 hours was not too long to drive to get a haircut. So this weekend, we hopped in the car, bought the last drop of gas in Asheville, and headed to Lynchburg.
We had been warned that Lynchburg is Jerry Falwell territory. His university is there, plus there's a highway named after him. But since he's dead, I wasn't too worried about it. Conservative scariness aside, Lynchburg is a beautiful little community. We found Alan, he performed his magic on our shaggy noggins, then we went out to dinner at a fabulous wine and cheese restaurant called Dish. It's very gratifying knowing that I can get a nice Pinot Noir and some manchego cheese, even in Falwell land.
If you are a straight person reading this, you may not realize that gay people are everywhere. No matter how oppressive or conservative an environment, we're there. And everywhere. There are no gay bars in Lynchburg, but that doesn't mean there aren't gay people there. We saw them. We nodded, and with a smile let each other know that no matter where we travel in the world, we're not alone. Family is close by. It's a nice feeling.
The other nice surprise was what a historical place Virginia is. Appomattox, Colonial Williamsburg, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. You hear about these places and file them away in your memory and never think you're going to be driving by them one day. We've definitely decided to return for a longer visit, so we can get a big dose of history and culture.
The drive home was gorgeous, as we headed down through Roanoke, then east towards North Carolina and Asheville. Lush, green forests and mountainsides dotted with little red barns and small herds of cattle. The whole weekend was a lovely reminder of what this whole year-long experiment is about. Seeing new things, exploring a different part of America and a different way of life. Oh, and driving 300 miles for a haircut.