Free State Tourism for an over-the-border haircut

Hairdressers are essential.  Three months is too long for anyone to be forced to forgo a haircut.  When my hair annoys me by hanging in my eyes, I become intolerant.

On April 30, when Minnesota governor Tim Walz once again moved the goalposts, canceling a second scheduled haircut since the earliest days when governors began controlling our lives, I had had enough.  Minnesota is a blue state.  Our governor is a blue governor, although somewhat less tyrannical than many other states’ blue governors.

What he must realize is that many of Minnesota’s neighbors are not blue states.  It was time to engage in a bit of Free State Tourism.  Mason City, the closest town in Iowa at 150 miles from our home, was still of the opinion that hairdressers are non-essential workers who might spread the dreaded coronavirus.  That wouldn’t work.  Watertown, the closest town in South Dakota, 200 miles away, wasn’t ready to welcome hordes of shaggy men and women seeking relief, either.  But Fargo, North Dakota, at 225 miles, had just opened for business last week when I called to make appointments for my husband and myself.

I call it Free State Tourism, and the concept may catch on.  There are many shutdown states that have free state neighbors close enough for a day trip or an overnighter.  Because we were fortunate to get two morning appointments, we chose the overnighter in the case of our visit to Fargo.  These would be the most expensive haircuts we ever got.  And worth every penny.

How did we help the Fargo economy?  Let me count the ways.  We bought fuel there.  We stayed overnight in a hotel there.  We bought breakfast there.  Who knew that hotels that traditionally offer a hot breakfast cannot do that these days for the same reasons that self-serve salad bars are currently unavailable?  We bought groceries there and ate a simple rotisserie chicken dinner in our room.  Finally, we bought two haircuts with a generous (and very grateful) tip to the pleasant woman who was delighted to be back on the job after being out of work for six weeks.  Never mind the extra workload and longer hours due to the pent up demand for haircuts.  Never mind the temporary hassle of having to cut someone’s hair around his face mask while having to talk though and breathe through a face mask as well.  Never mind the edict to position chairs six feet apart, effectively eliminating half of the stylists at any time.  These are people who are glad to be back to work.

Are they essential?  Absolutely.  So is every other worker in the country.

Open it up, American governors, or the willing workers and their eager customers will open it up in spite of you.  We are adults.  We don’t need nannies.

We will once again make personal decisions using common sense.  We will start making our own plans without waiting for you to “allow” us to have weddings, birthday parties, family events, meetings, and everything else we have postponed.  We will choose our own risks.

We’ve suffered your madness for nearly two months.  Now it’s our turn.  We will take back our own lives.

Karen Larson is mad as hell and isn't going to take it anymore.  She has been at the bottom of several companies and at the top of one.  She has been a wordsmith and the one who wields the red pen.  She is a parent with grandchildren biological and otherwise.  Now retired, she enjoys sailing on Lake Superior with her husband, Jerry, among her many hobbies.