I went to the hairdresser today. In China, a trip to the hairdressers is always a great fun experience in a crazy, kinda way!
There is the language barrier, of course. Then there is my receding hairline and my monk style hair growth along with some fanciable technology, or not in some cases.
I remember the first haircut I got in China, and the hairdresser hoovered my head. Yep. You read that right. I laughed my heart out at that at the time. There is something quite obvious about that solution.
Today I went to a different hairdresser from the one in the picture. This hairdressers has become my regular place and is very much a traditional barber and less a hairdressers. They are efficient and no messing around.
The language barrier is huge, and so it becomes a few grunts and a share of a picture of my chosen hairstyle and then it gets done, and I agree, pay and go. It is polite and amicable, but because it is in the centre of the local community Hutong, it is strange for them to cut a foreigners hair. But we get by, and it is great because now they know me and I get what I want, they are more relaxed, and it is a pleasant transactional experience.
'A Hutong is the name given to a narrow lane, alley, or small street between rows of single-storey Siheyuan dwelled by Beijingers in the past. When viewed from the air the interlaced lanes resemble a maze or a chessboard with delicate gardens, fine rockeries and ancient ruins which makes them a wonder in the world.'
Today was different. Today my visit to the barber was hilarious.
At the end of my haircut, the barber, my usual guy, started to blow my hair to remove the loose hair he had just cut off. Now picture the scene a few locals, the three barbers, and me. We are all wearing masks because of the current pandemic situation. I had reworked my face mask so that the elastic that goes behind my ear didn’t get in the way of the haircut.
Anyway, as the barber uses the hairdryer on my head, the air from the dryer captures my mask, and my mask fly’s off my face across the barbershop. Well, the barber starts to uncontrollably laugh out loud, and so do I because it is so funny… he turns to tell the others in the shop what happened. His mask flies off one of his ears, and that just cracks up the whole place.
Me, a foreigner in this community and a group of local people just pissing ourselves laughing at something so slapstick funny.
When I left as I paid, they were all saying goodbye to me and laughing. I think I have crossed the barrier from outsider to being accepted in this local community. It was a hilarious moment and one of the highlights of my time here in China.
There is nothing better than just a full out laugh. It is infectious, and it changes the atmosphere in a flash.
I wish there were such humorous moments like that every day, as it has put a skip in my step. I truly wish everyone could experience an absolute belly ache laugh out moment every day because it would change how we all engage with each other.
I think the world could certainly use a lot more humour, but I fear that humour is on the decline and angst, anger, and hatred are rising.
Just glance at America, and you can see a tinder box awaiting a hot summer to spark an already charged atmosphere into dreadful action.
The U.K. and Europe are just as bad, with tensions on a knife-edge. Chill the feck out, everyone… life is short and don’t spend it fighting each other.
I fear that this might be the theme of the summer. Anger!
I hope this doesn’t happen. I hope humour finds a way through and just on its tail a summer of love filled with gracious and inspiring music that evokes positive change.
I am with John Lennon on this, and I do imagine so much of the right things for the world. I am a dreamer, but I am sure I am not the only one.
Please join us because I think we are a legion, and I know we can live as one.