Sunday, March 17, 2013

Where's Justin?

Once again, I have been baffled by the elements of sudden change and uncertainty in this country.  Beijing is the kind of city where a restaurant you ate at one night can be closed the next day, where a three-month-old bookstore could close for renovations, and where many shops seem to be in a permanent state of half-renovation.

I went to get my hair cut at what I like to think of as Justin’s salon. I figured I could spring for the expensive hair coloring at Julie’s, but there’s no reason to forgo a 20-RMB haircut that is perfectly lovely.
But today, I walked into the salon, and there was no Justin. Where’s Justin? I asked.

“Mei you,” answered the shop owner. No Justin.
“Is he coming back?” I asked.
“Mei you,” he said.
“Okay, but can you cut my hair?” I asked, gesturing.
“Keyi,” he said. Yes he can.

So I proceeded to get my hair cut by some non-Justin, silent but efficient, who took as long to elaborately blow out my hair as he did to cut it. The end result was fine, and so I decided I could live with returning to the salon.

“Wo de mingzi,” I said after it was all done. My name – I knew I had a fair amount of money prepaid for various services like eyebrows (which won’t happen because Serena is also gone somewhere else) and hair color (which won’t happen there because Justin botched the job last time. I see now his heart was not in it.) Turns out I have more than 500 RMB left on my account. It’s going to take me some time to spend that down 20 RMB at a time.

And then the mystery was solved. I came home and Joanna and her friend Jamie were baking in the apartment. I told them Justin was gone, and Jamie said she had Justin’s phone number (lots of people were Justin fans). She texted him. He answered immediately: He had gone home for the new year and decided to stay in his hometown of Changsha, in Henan province. Mei you Justin. Jamie texted Justin that she was going to miss him. He texted back a picture of a big bouquet of pink flowers.

Joanna’s theory was that Justin’s parents told him it was high time for him to stay home and get married. It’s not entirely clear which team Justin plays for, but I think that any boy who is sweet enough to text a big bouquet of flowers is decent husband material.

And he sure could provide a lovely haircut. Chinese fails me in this case. In fact, English does too. Au revoir, Justin. C’est dommage.

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