In the midst of doing laundry that didn't get done this past weekend, due to being under the weather, the fat girl that lurks underneath this skin got a craving for an appetizer at the Chinese food spot on the corner. I live in the Bronx, so along with liquor stores and check cashing places, Chinese food spots are everywhere.
Tonight it was empty. Just me in there, waiting, listening to the Chinese being thrown around on the other side of the counter.
"Hello!!" resonated from the back.
I looked behind me to see who he was talking to...it was me.
"Oh, hello!" The five cooks behind the counter all looked at me and laughed. It's the most I've ever spoken to anyone who worked there. I stood there. Head resting on my folded hands, waiting for my food, but I couldn't help myself. Staring at the Chinese woman who manned the phones and register....
"What kind of Chinese are you speaking? Cantonese? Mandarin?" I asked.
She stopped and looked like she was waiting for me to insert the disrespectful racial joke here. Literally, she looked as though she was bracing for the insult.
"I ask because I lived in Asia. I went to Hong Kong. I lived in Japan for a year."
The remnants of a slight grin showed on her face. She relaxed and responded, "Oh really, Hong Kong is a beautiful city."
"Yes, it is."
I don't know if she is just going to brush it off as an occurance, but I really had a moment with her. I have walked into this Chinese food spot, and many others in NYC and seen people acting disrespectfully wreckless with these workers. Purposefully butchering their accent and the way they look, for laughs during their weed smoke filled, alcohol induced, or simply ignorance injected conversations.
Frankly, it pisses me of.
I've seen the same with the Pakistani and Indian workers on my block at the Dunkin Donuts. No respect because they can't relate, and don't want to.
So yes tonight, at the Chinese food spot...I hope I let them know, at least one person in the neighborhood respects where they come from...
time to go get my laundry.