Dim Sum Diaries

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Things were getting worse. The students at the studies program had splintered into two factions: the conservatives and the liberals. There was tension between the conservative and liberal group. There was tension between the liberal group and the teachers. It got to the point where I couldn’t even hang around my own apartment. The Last Two American Virgins (my roommates) would always be sprawled on the couch reveling in their undefiled status, so I stayed away. The only relief was the core group of people that I hung out with. They supported me through the “Jubilee” debacle and everything after that. They consisted of Jack, D, and a few others and we would go out a few nights a week to commiserate over our misery. Or have a laugh at someone’s expense (usually mine).

One such occasion occurred when a group of us “libbies” went out for dinner. The restaurant we went to was a dimly light affair complete with candlelight at every table. It was more suited for a romantic couple on a date, but I didn’t care. We immediately ordered a round of drinks and as time passed our laughter and chat grew progressively louder. Our conversation consisted mostly of complaining about the studies program. My contribution to the conversation was to declare repeatedly, “Damn them. Damn them all to hell!”

After inhaling two Long Island Ice Teas, I felt at peace with the world. I had a low tolerance for alcohol (Asian-Americans are notorious for this), usually turning red after only half a beer. So when I did get truly snookered, I was a happy, sleepy, red-faced drunk. I rested my head in my hands and started to drift a bit.

“My God, your hair is on fire!” Jack cried out suddenly.

An acrid smell assaulted my nose. Indeed, in my drunken haze, I had leaned too far forward and my now flaming bangs had been ignited by the candle at the table.

”Dammit!” I yelped.

I slapped my forehead in an attempt to put out the flames. It went out, but not before the entire table was howling with laughter at my sad predicament. My singed bangs were now all smelly and uneven. D wiped a tear of laughter from her eye. “So, I suppose that is a real ‘bang up’?” she asked with a semi-straight face.

I glared at her. “Yeah, I’m just all hair to please you,” I grumbled.

Everyone groaned. “No more puns!” Jack pleaded, “My hair hurts from just hearing it.”

I sighed. Despite these hilarious occurrences, the spiraling tensions were only a hint of the troubles to come.