Her parents

27 Jul

For the past two weeks, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been staying in upstate New York with my girlfriend, having to interact a lot with her parents. Of course, being the impertinent bastard I am, I feel like I have to post some of the odd things I’ve noticed about them.

I have a feeling that the two of them are (or at the very least her mother is) abusing the “foreigner immigrant who doesn’t understand America” image to just act plain weird.

Case in point: my girlfriend’s mom washes her dishes in the sink and then puts them away… in the dishwasher. Yes. The GF tells me that as long as they’ve lived in that house, the dishwasher has never actually been used to wash dishes.

Now, folks, I studied abroad in China. I spent three months there and saw many different places, from bustling cities to tiny villages. In all of those places, I think they all understood what the hell a dishwasher was for. This kind of behavior can only be explicable if her mom is from another planet entirely.

“On my world, we attach all of our cabinets to water lines for no reason! Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to set my bookshelf to ‘heavy grease.'”

Some other things that I can’t help noticing stem from their constant clashing with my girlfriend’s veganism.

I myself eat meat, but I support the vegan lifestyle. As much as people who eat meat find it annoying when vegans lecture them on killing animals, it is just as annoying, if not more, to tell someone you’re vegan and then listen to them give you an unsolicited lecture on nutrition and the natural course of human evolution. Picking between people who are sanctimonious about being vegan and people who are sanctimonious about eating meat is like picking between The Westboro Baptist Church and Al Qaeda.

Anyway, the GF has been a vegan since college, but despite all that, they still will either outright harangue her about eating meat, or play dumb to trick her into it.

Case in point: They cooked us a plate of fried pre-made dumplings, which they said had no meat. I bit into one and distinctly tasted meat. I looked at the box the dumplings came in, and it said, in big letters, “chicken vegetable dumplings.” Pretty self-explanatory, right? “Chicken vegetable” = There’s fucking chicken. So I call her mother’s attention to it, and tell her that her daughter can’t eat them because they have chicken.

Her response was no, “chicken vegetable” means “chicken flavored vegetables!” See? It’s okay! Only vegetables!

Setting aside the possibility that yes, there’s no chicken meat in them, how do they think the vegetables got the chicken flavor? Apparently, in dumpling factories in some part of China I didn’t get to visit, there’s some live, plucked chicken that just sits in a tub of warm water all day until some guy pulls it out and rubs vegetables on his butt for a few minutes, then sits him back in the water, unharmed, for him to continue relaxing in his cluckuzzi (okay, yeah, boooo puns).

Perhaps some of their behavior can be attributed to cultural differences. There’s a stereotype about Asians being very concerned with appearances and saving face. Well, listen to this story:

One day, seemingly out of nowhere, the GF’s mother asked me if I could help them mow the lawn. Since I always like to be helpful around the house when I’m someone’s guest, I naturally agreed. It was kind of tiring and it was hot outside, but afterwards they gave me a bit of cash, so I had no reason to complain.

That night, at dinner, I learned the reason why they asked me to do that in the first place: Apparently a young boy from down the street earlier in the day came and asked the GF’s mom if he could mow the lawn for some money, probably just because his dad wanted him to learn the meaning of a well-earned dollar over the Summer. My girlfriend’s mom, however, took it as an implied criticism that the lawn was ugly and needed mowing, and apparently it would be less embarrassing if I, already being a member of the in-group, mowed the lawn instead.

The Asian, being embarrassed and afraid of losing face, thus got me, the Hispanic, to mow her lawn for money, stealing the potential job from somebody else.

I was just part of a stereotype super-combo.


2 Responses to “Her parents”

  1. Charles 07/27/2010 at 8:16 pm #

    “Cluckuzzi”… I lol’d.

    Anyway, your girlfriend’s parents seem more than a little tightly-wound. I think they need to let you two live your own lives as you see fit. You’re in your twenties; you’re perfectly capable of making good decisions. They’re just being annoying.

  2. Lem 07/28/2010 at 11:40 am #

    “The Asian, being embarrassed and afraid of losing face, thus got me, the Hispanic, to mow her lawn for money, stealing the potential job from somebody else.

    I was just part of a stereotype super-combo.”

    oh man. *facepalm* so good but so, so painful.

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