Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The deal with my hair.

Like I was sayin' last time, it's been rough. I been monk dimin' for over a month now, and my mind has been all over the place. I even uninstalled the 3-way mirror in the bathroom so I wouldn't be tempted to stare at the bald spot and obsess or fret over it. I can't remember the last time I did home improvement — look what I'm driven to.

Western medicine is pretty much useless when it comes to hair-regrowth technology, so I decided to go lookin' east. Just 'cause it's a little weird and different don't mean they ain't figured a few things out over there in China, you know. I cold turkeyed it, just walkin' into the first place I saw in Chinatown that seemed to have anything to do with hair — in fact, this particular place showed a three-panel set of drawings where the top of a guy's head goes from totally empty of hair to completely covered again. On the classic old-school frosted glass door panel, underneath the Asian writing, little letters said Silas Dong, Hair and Skin. I was sold.

I was a little nervous goin' in, since I ain't know the first thing about this kind of medicine, but right away the place had a real calm vibe. Feng-schway? That what they call it? Anyhow, this place had it in spades. Silas was sittin' in the corner of the small front room, at his desk, just Chinesin' around, you know, lookin' at Internet and stuff. He didn't greet me right away, but when he did, I could tell he greeted me at the perfect time to make me feel at home. A second sooner would have seemed anxious, a second later would have seemed rude. He played the hello to a T. Very few men can really say hello, if you think about it.

I didn't even say my name or anything, he just welcomed me into this real comfy chair, kind of like a recliner with the top half of the back missing, and started examining and massaging my scalp. It was nice — he wasn't into all kinds of insurance papers and stuff, all like havin' me with a clipboard for half an hour checkin' "no" in every single disease column (except glasses). We got down to tacks immediately, just two men with no nonsense between them. He made some thoughtful noises while he was examinin' my dime, and pretty soon he seemed to have satisfied himself.

"Three hundred dolla," he said in a professional, calm way. I could tell by his confidence, and the careful way he had examined my head, that three hundred dollars was EXACTLY what he knew to charge for my precise condition. It was really relieving, because if he could set a price to it so clearly, then he must have had a solution in mind.

I nodded, and he had me take my shirt off and go into a back room where I got on my tummy on a regular sort of doctor's examination table. He also had me take my shoes off.

I sat in there for a few minutes and relaxed. He must have been consulting charts or something, because right before I went in he asked me my birthday. When he did come in, he had all these lit candles on a cafeteria tray, and a little jar of needles. He'd heat a needle up, stick it real delicately into a part of my foot or back, and get on to the next needle. He said the different candles burned at different temperatures, and that the particular heat of the needles was important to where he stuck them. Sounded good to me, and it didn't actually hurt like you'd think it would. Each needle brought almost a welcome release from wherever he stuck it.

After about fifteen or so pricks I started to feel—I don't know how to say it—like my juices were alive. Like my body had gotten an important phone call it had forgotten to expect? I don't want to sound like a crazy man but I even feel like my dime tingled a little bit.

Dong wouldn't let me pay him after the first visit — I always like that. It's one of those business features you ain't see too much any more: trust. Faith. Respect. We'll see what happens. I'm pretty blissed on the dude and his services so far, so I'm sure I'll have some updates soon. God, what if seein' Dong solves my problem? What if I don't have to monk dime?