December 28, 2005


ho hum, another day in an empty office. i actually have a 1pm meeting today, so i guess that leaves me about a half hour to waste typing a blog entry. i woke up this morning, as usual, with an npr report buzzing in my ear. it was about the bird flu and how a pandemic is looking somewhat likely and we should all run around screaming in terror. or something like that. as i was groggily listening, i started thinking: maybe i already have the bird flu. i mean, for the past few weeks, i've had this nagging sore throat in the morning, combined with a mild cough that my mom always comments on (more on that later). maybe i already HAVE the bird flu. as i finally came into consciousness, i realized i was ridiculous and that these symptoms are much more likely remnants of my human flu from a few weeks ago. nope, not a bird. so what am i doing about it? i've decided that i am going to completely drown the shit out of this sore throat with a barrage of juices, teas, cough drops, and cough medicines. it'll be like the german blitzkrieg, but without guns and with cough medicine. i went to safeway and armed myself with a whole box of cold-eeze, a pack of halls honey-lemon cough drops (read: candy), and a small container of macaroni salad. why macaroni salad? mm, i don't know. i do think it will be helpful though, or else why would it taste so good? good logic, i know. i was talking to eafong today about how she has this conflict between missing being home and realizing that she might have outgrown home. in my mind it's because few parents, particularly asian mothers, have the ability to fully and completely detach themselves from mom mode. they want to both coddle and lord over their child, no matter the age, even if they realize that they shouldn't. my sore throat is a good example. whenever i see my mom, which is often during the holidays, she immediately notices the slight cough. her response is always a bizarre combination of irritation, command, motherly advice, and outright anger. something to the effect of "are you sick, again?!" in chinese. um, a little bit, mom. "you need to TAKE BETTER CARE of yourself. always getting sick." then she will shake her head in a look of disappointment with some mutterings in chinese and follow that up with a deluge of medicine that would make salk piss his pants. she actually seems to be ANGRY that i have let this virus enter my body and hold me mildly captive. my question to her is always: what is there to get angry about? never get an answer for that one. yes, i could see how that could make sense, as a mother, but there are other, even smaller things that drive wedges. as i was telling kingsley earlier, four minutes is enough for an asian mother to nag, so four DAYS is an eternity to put the Chinese Mother Torture in full effect. another example: i walk in the door with a pair of my nice new leather dress shoes. the FIRST words out of my mom's mouth will INVARIABLY be, "wow, those shoes look expensive." not hello and not in admiration. i will dryly respond with something like "yeah mom, they cost a fortune." she will give me "the look" (any asian-american male under the age of 75 can describe to you the look) and ask "where did you get them?" this of course can end here in one of three scenarios: 1. i honestly say i got the shoes from nordstrom's for about $150. she gives me the lecture about saving money and i am forced to listen to it. i have had my testicles removed. 2. i lie and say i got the shoes from payless on sale for $15. she suspiciously congratulates me and finds something else to get on my case about. i have lied to feel ok about myself when i actually had no reason to feel bad. 3. i sarcastically say i got the shoes from ferragamo for $90,000. she remarks that "well, you must be very rich." i have drawn a line in the sand that indicates to my mom that i don't want to discuss how much the shoes cost. which one would YOU choose? as crazy as it sounds, this mental warfare occurs immediately upon entering the house and does not end until i die. i love my parents, but ths is the sort of banter that occurs around shoes. just imagine when it comes to dating or jobs or graduate school. just remember, everyone, particularly white people: when an asian mother asks you where your shoes are from, are you sick, where do you work, or do you have a girlfriend, it is ALWAYS a loaded question with a sledgehammer behind it if you come forth with the wrong response. be ready to go to war. have a good answer ready to lie with, or actually FIND yourself a good answer. my good answers currently? - "yeah, they are exorbitantly expensive. it's the only thing i purchased this whole past year. every other cent of my salary went into my 401(k). i have not been to vegas once a month for the past half year. i do not know what las vegas is." - "a little bit. i'm a trial patient for a new flu vaccine, so it gives me a little cough. the trial pays a little bit of money that i am investing in mutual funds. the annual rate of return is around 10%, which i will eventually invest in a house." - "i work in the computer software industry at oracle corporation. i'm in product management which are code words for 'i will be able to support a family one day.' i make a pretty good salary and put ALL of my money in my 401(k), an IRA, or my brokerage account. i save small orphaned children on the side." - "yes, her name is ivy. her last name is chen. she lives in saratoga with her family in a large house. she went to uc berkeley and graduated from the EE/CS department. she has a good paying engineering job in redwood city. she is taiwanese." tags: , ,


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