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Puerto Rico

So, as most of you know, I go in every week for a shave and a haircut at my barber’s. My first experience was awesome, but then I had a clowning experience, and of course, there was the photo opportunity when I had my eyebrows waxed.

Then, there was the time that I really felt like an asshole. I’ve linked it, but the relevant text is here:

Wednesday, after going to my barber’s for my weekly trim and shave, was when I reached the realization that I am indeed an asshole. I walked into the barber’s and immediately noticed that my usual barber, Raul, wasn’t there. I asked the owner where he is, and she says, “Oh. Well, he’s in the hospital right now. They found out that he might have lymphoma.”

“That’s horrible,” I said. “Who’s going to cut my hair and shave me?”

She gave me a slightly strange look. “Natalia is going to do it today. So, about Raul. Would you like his phone number? Some of his regulars are checking in on him and sending flowers or something.”

On the inside, I’m thinking furiously. What the fuck can I say to that other than “Okay”? I don’t want his fucking phone number – I’m not going to call my barber who might have cancer and make small talk! Maybe I’d send him something at the hospital, if he wasn’t just my fucking barber! But there was no real answer I could give that would get me off the hook, so I shrugged and said “Sure. Maybe I can send him something.”

Two days later, and I still haven’t sent him something. If he doesn’t die and actually comes back to work, I’ll ask him if he got the nice arrangement that I had sent up, and when he says, “No,” I’ll blame the hospital and the old lady volunteers working the gift shop. But, in the end, and this is the REALLY asshole thing, I’m almost hoping that he doesn’t come back so I don’t have to worry about it.

Well, Raul made a full recovery, and returned to the barbershop. By that point, though, I had switched over to the owner and had no interest in having Raul do my shave. He was unreliable, and missed random days, had problems getting to work, and just went from being a meticulous, amazing barber to someone that I really didn’t want holding a blade to my throat.

He’s from Puerto Rico, and Cori, the owner, kept joking with him, every time he was there, about going back to Puerto Rico where his car would be top of the line and he’d have more money than most people, and Raul would joke with her about it, but you got the sense that he was serious, and one day he was just going to up and disappear and go back to Puerto Rico.

Yesterday, after getting my shave, and setting up my appointment for next week, I notice that Raul isn’t in the appointment book anymore. “Oh,” I said. “Looks like King Raul went back to Puerto Rico to rule over them with his mighty scissors and razor, eh?”

“No,” Cori said. “He died on Sunday.”

“Fuck! Really?”

“Yeah. Want to send his mother some flowers?”

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36 Replies to “Puerto Rico”

  1. MsFreud

    I am a terrible person, as were I in the car with you afterwards, I would have been laughing my fat fucking ass off at the whole horrible situation.
    Poor Raul… Maybe it was your fault for not sending him flowers. :lmao:

  2. The Absurdist

    I guess since women are much more devoted and loyal to their hairdressers, this just doesn’t compute in girly terms.

    If my hairdresser died, I would make it all about myself. Do you have ANY IDEA how hard it is to find a good hairdresser (or hair expert, as I call the good ones)?

  3. Avitable

    Nina, I don’t think I’ll need socks in hell.

    Mrs. RW, so should I feel obligated to send flowers? Is that what you’re saying?

    MsFreud, I wish I had that kind of power.

    AnnieB, well, he made a full recovery for six months.

    Bec, I got a shiny new one.

    Britt, fuck you, fucker.

    Bossy, yeah, but what about purgatory?

    Todd, wow. You just went there, didn’t you?

    Absurdist, well, I had already moved onto the owner anyways. So I’m okay, although I may have to seek out a grief counselor.

    Mr. Fabulous, you need hair first, don’t you?

    Hello, exactly!

    Clown, crazy to the extreme! With steak!

    TMP, I wasn’t upset about losing my barber. I just don’t want to send flowers.

    Robin, this one better not die on me now.

    Poppy, I still refuse to send flowers.

    Trish, ha!

    Amy, I encourage it. Subconsciously.

    Annie, well, he said he was fully recovered. Apparently the doctor actually told him he had six months to live, and he didn’t tell anyone. I don’t know why he would have wanted to keep being a barber if he knew that.

    Sam, if you send flowers, put my name on them, too, okay?

    Sybil, my beard is a little lower than my jawline, and it looks like I have a hair collar. Fucking Britt.

    Preposterous, if anyone asks, yes, I sent a wonderful arrangement. In reality, no.

    CMG, I do like PR porn!

  4. RW

    “No,” Cori said. “He died on Sunday.”

    “Fuck! Really?”

    “Yeah. Want to send his mother some flowers?”

    On the inside, I’m thinking furiously. What the fuck can I say to that other than “Okay”? I don’t want to send his mother any fucking flowers – I’m not going to contact my barber’s mother who might be weepy and crying and miserable! Maybe I’d send something to the funeral home, if he wasn’t just my fucking barber! But there was no real answer I could give that would get me off the hook, so I shrugged and said “Sure. Maybe I can send her something”…

  5. Sybil Law

    Hahahaha – I am sorry, but that really is funny. I never would’ve made that connection before – thanks for explaining! However, isn’t that fairly normal?!
    Anyway, did you hear about the songwriting contest at mommified me? I think you’d write some great, great lyrics! I think Mr. Fab is doing it, though – between the two of you – it could get scary!
    You and Britt need your own sitcom. It would have to be on cable, though.

  6. Lisa

    Well, you could have at least sent him a card showing some support…it could have meant lot to someone who was sick (especially if they might have or actually had cancer).

    I realize everyone thinks it’s funny…even if it was your barber. I’ve been in his shoes…I used to be a hairstylist.

    And you know I had cancer.

    Just sayin’…

  7. Avitable

    Lisa, it’s mainly because the guy shaved me twice, maybe three times. I didn’t even know his last name or anything about him. Sending flowers to his hospital room was like picking some random person in the phone book and sending them flowers.

    We did talk about it when he got back and was feeling much better.

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