Friday, February 05, 2010

Lost In Translation ...

I woke up this morning craving Chinese food ... and it brought this story to mind. Seemed like a good topic for Meme Express Friday Freedom.

Years and years ago ... I dated this guy. For purposes of this story, I've changed names to protect the guilty ... and we going to call him Dick. That isn't his name ... but it fits. Anyhow, we weren't a great fit ... and the relationship didn't last more than six months or so. Although there were plenty of problems with Dick ... his distant relationship with anything resembling the truth being one ... I think I can trace all the little things back to one very large issue ... his family. These people were wackadoodles. I have stories that would curl your hair.

Like how about two years before I met Dick, he apparently knocked up the 16 year old daughter of their neighbors. That in itself isn't earth-shattering ... but here's the thing ... he would've been around 20 at the time. Oh, but that was funny, his family explained. In fact, they kept the child's baby picture tucked in the frame of Dick's baby picture (the two photos looked eerily identical) on the living room wall ... to demonstrate the humor of the situation. That alone should have made me run ... but no ...

How about Dick's father's frequent calls to my office just to "chat with me" ... or his inexplicable interest in attaining sordid details of his son's love life. Or how about when Dick's parents decided to move to Peoria ... giving their two grown children the option of either moving with them or getting their own place down here ... and his mother's subsequent insistence that I pay for their son's deposit and first month's rent. When I balked at the idea, she shrieked at me, "Just what is the problem here? It's not like you don't have a job!"

In any case ... one night, Dick's parents announced that they were going to take the family out for Chinese and they'd like me to come ... their treat. To say we were all shocked is an understatement. This invitation was an extremely rare event. It's occurrence is probably inscribed on a Myan calendar somewhere next to their 2012 prediction. Along with just generally being odd, his parents didn't pay for anything that wasn't absolutely, positively required by law.

These days, I'm a Chinese food connoisseur. While I don't like a lot of exotic dishes, I could easily find a dozen things on a Chinese menu that would make my toes curl with delight. But way back in the day? No ... I was strictly a fried rice kind of girl. Even then I would wince when, occasionally, I'd see my fried rice scattered with a few of those tiny, freakish ears of corn. Anyhow ... I was pretty happy about the whole thing. I thought it was a good sign that I was being included as part of "the family." Little did I know things with "the family" were about to go from bad to worse.

We arrived at the restaurant and the six of us proceeded to order off the menu. However, when our food arrived, everything was placed in the middle of the table. I was a little confused ... but took my fried rice and grabbed a fork. There was an awkward pause ... as they all stared at me as though I'd hiked up my skirt and pissed on the table leg. "What?" I asked. Dick's father cleared his throat and said, "Well, sweetheart, the point of going for Chinese is that we all order what we like ... and then eat family style so that we can all try a little of each dish."

Now this is the point of the story where ... I readily admit ... I must've looked like a hillbilly ...

I scrunched up my eyebrows, looked at him, and said, "Why the hell would I do that? If I wanted to eat what you ordered, I would've ordered it myself."

What excuses can I offer? I can only assume I must've come off as terribly rude. Although, to be fair I was young and I didn't grow up with my family going out for Chinese. But let's be frank ... I don't really understand someone assuming they're going to eat food off my plate in the first place.

So, after dwelling on this awhile, I have to ask ... I know this happened around 20 years ago, but was this common? Did everyone (or does everyone still) go to Chinese and eat "family style"? Do you commonly pass around your plate of Sesame Chicken so you can try dishes you had no intention of eating in the first place? Is this why they created Chinese buffets so people like me wouldn't have to keep saying, "Stop touching my food?!"

You know, karma is a bitch ... and I bet Dick is sitting in a Starbucks somewhere writing a blog post about this crazy chick he used to date who wouldn't let his family touch her food ... LOL

Yo, I told you
(can't touch this)
Why you standing there, man?
(can't touch this)
Yo, sound the bell, school is in, sucka
(can't touch this)

MC Hammer - Can't Touch This


  1. "Can't touch this."

    Great tie-in.

    Intriguing family. Sounds like this guy was one of those fish - that makes the angler GLAD he got away.

  2. Well, I asked a co-worker who was raised on the East Coast and he said that, while it's true that sharing food at a Chinese restaurant like that is common, the real issue was that they shouldn't have assumed I would know their traditions. He thinks they should've explained or at least asked if I wanted to share ... not that it matters. Either way, I came of looking like a complete ass.

    But in the fish analogy ... YES I am so very thankful he was the one who got away! LOL