Secret Pop

Apr 25, 2002

Secret Chinese or How I Began to Feel at Home in Tinseltown

I went to the Twin Dragon to pick up food for me and my guests tonight. When I walked in, the woman at the register was talking to one of the waiters who had just walked up. She was asking if something or someone was pretty. Once I started ordering, the manager asked -- perhaps based on my propensity to order things that weren't actually on the menu (a quintessentially Chinese thing to do) -- if I am Chinese, and I said that my mother is Chinese. He asked if I speak Chinese, and I said that i understand a little. That I was wondering what they had been talking about that was so pretty. And he laughed and told me that the woman at the register was asking the waiter if he found me to be pretty. But the waiter was confused and thought she was asking if he thought she was pretty. And the manager said how dangerous a question that is. "Answer wrong, and that could easily turn into five fingers on the face." He laughed as he said it. And I thought it the most amusing and delightful description of a slap in the face that I've ever heard.

In the end, I was encouraged to date a Chinese man. I was told that I have the qualifications to be a flight attendant, whatever that means. And I was offered a hand with the food out to my car, which I politely declined. And when I got home, I found that they had given me a free order of egg rolls. They asked my name before I left. I'm hopeful that this may be the first of a number of places where I can go and have everyone who works there know my name and be glad to see me as the Cheers theme plays in the background. The waiter at the Chinese place near my office knows I almost always order the szechuan shredded pork. He rolled me to my mother on that topic when we ate there together. But he doesn't know my name. And perhaps he never will.

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