[ This is about 8 years before. The place is Columbus, OH. The hair-cut is over. I have paid the bill and I am about to leave. The hair cut person was a chinese woman]
Barber: wutch u like appon
Me: huh! Excuse me
Barber: woultch you ..eke.. a pon
Me: I am sorry I didn't hear you
Barber: wud you like ko-pon
Me: No Thanks. Sorry.
My friend1: Shocked1
My Friend2: Shocked2.
Barber (in a sad voice): would ...you.. cu pon
Me: No! I don't. Sorry.
(everybody becomes sad... we walk out)
My Friend: Why did you say that?
Me: I didn't want a coupon.
My Friend: What coupon?
Me: the coupon she offered
My Friend: She asked if you liked the haircut??!!!
So needless to say I don't hear other accents very well.
This super-hearing accent powers does not always end up insulting the barber. Most of the times I am the butt of most jokes. Like the instance where I walked into the hair cut shop and said "short on the sides and long in the middle. Lets say you start with a 3 on the top and 2 in the sides and taper it down to a 1 near the ear". The woman nodded enthusiastically and used a 1cm machine all over my head. And if you can recognize machines by the centi-meters, a 1 cm machine leads to tonsure. And there I was, a new employee, in my first job, walking around like a trainspotting lead character.
I have never had a good hair cut in my life. I am still searching for it. Yestarday, I took time to clearly explain the "short on the sides and long in the middle. Lets say you start with a 3 on the top and 2 in the sides and taper it down to a 1 near the ear". I made sure she understood it and then let her cut. In about 20 seconds she tonsured me clean. I think 3 cms in Chicago is different from 3 cms in Ann Arbor and 3 cms in Dallas or Columbus. I seriously think this cm thing is a scam. I did not know 3 cms is short. Short enough for people to stifle a giggle when they see me. She was working on a 2 cm thing on the side of my head and I stopped her. I asked her, if there was anything left to cut except my head. She seemed to think there was. Maybe if they kept a microscope on my head, she could have found a strand or two to cut. My wife fell out of the chair when she saw me walk out of the chair. I have grown tired of the jibes. It is so insulting when she uses my head as a mock tabla instrument. My gentleman friends at least spared me from that ignominy.
p.s: I look like 'sethu' Vikram