Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tropical Chop – Erich

If you've been following our saga, you have read about my experience with getting haircuts: first in Cape Town, South Africa; then in Istanbul, Turkey. Well, I have just returned from getting a haircut in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I would like to apologize for the dearth of posts in the blog of late. In my defense, I have been working in August on the 31 Plays in 31 Days Project. It is a project designed to get playwrights writing. You write one play every day. It has to be at least one page long, and that's basically the only requirement. There is a submission location, and I have been submitting mine. But that really only exists as extra motivation for the writers. There are no prizes or productions for the best work.

Of course, I will pursue getting productions for some of the plays outside of this 31 Plays structure. Not all of the plays I've written so far are great, but some of them are quite good. At least in my opinion. Today is the 24th of August and I have completed 24 plays so far. So I am on track.

Fortunately, I'm not the only author of this blog, so there are others to pick up the slack.

Back to the haircut. Today's experience was much quieter than my others have been. My barber spoke enough English to communicate with me. That was no problem. But there was little communication. I asked the price. He told me. (12 Ringgits, which is about $3. That's less than I used to pay at the Atlas Barber School when I was a poor starving graduate student in New York City.) Then we stopped communicating for a while. In the middle he asked if I wanted him to shave my face, which I declined. And at the end he asked if it was good.

So notice what wasn't discussed: What style I wanted. I imagine if I had asked for a particular cut that would have been fine. But he didn't inquire, I didn't insist, and I ended up with a fine looking haircut.

In addition to the barber and I, there was a woman at the far end of the room. She may have been his wife. I don't know. During the first half of my haircut, she was watching something on a television. And there was no conversation. I imagine my barber was listening to the show as well.

Then it ended. At that point, the two of them began some discussions. They were speaking Malay, so I don't know what was said, but it is a very melodious language. I also noticed that several times the woman would reply with a long drawn out “eeeeeehhhh” to some sentence the barber had said. And once, he replied to her with a long “mmmmmmm”.

There was no electric razor here. Everything was done with scissors and a straight blade razor. It was no nonsense, no frills, and no delays. And I thought it was great. My family seems to think I look good. So this is a win all around.

Malaysia, like Turkey, and even South Africa, is warm. This is in the tropics, in August, so it is not a place where you always love having long hair. Well, maybe you would, but I am happy with my new short do. Regardless of the style, which is very nice, I am a lot cooler now.

And it shows. When I walk down the Jalan (the street) everybody says “Look at that cool guy.” Well, they say it to themselves, but I can tell what they're thinking.

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