I’m back! and I’m … sleepy.
I am finding myself un-inspired to post. Predominatly because I have been reading heartfelt and heartrending posts from other, better writers than me. I’m curling up in a little ball of awe and self-doubt.
But onwards with the me-blog nevertheless. I’ve always been a battler. I was actually much more inspired to write posts during the Film Festival*, but, alas, sloth did beckon and I did obey.
During one of our many speedy meals at (usually Asian) restaurants over the past few weeks, the (Asian) waitress said to me in surprise or shock (I was not sure): You’ve got a full on Aussie accent!
These things don’t bother me so much any more. Depending on the tone and the speaker, I am usually amused and only occassionally bristle in offence.
I replied: That’s because I am a full on Aussie.
The waitress exclaimed: No! Really? And, wittily, I said: Yes. Really.
I attended a law function and was seated at a table with a number of legal luminaries. Naturally, I introduced myself to the (not-Asian) woman beside me, whom I did not recognise. I stuck my hand out and said my full name. She stuck her hand out and said: Are you from Inala?
For those not in the know, Inala is a suburb of Brisbane wherein resides a large proportion of the Viet-Australia population of Brisbane. It’s a wee bit notorious.
I responded, not unkindly but certainly in reprimand: No. I am from [the firm of lawyers that I work for].
She replied: No, I meant do you live in Inala?
At this, I gave up. Unkindness here I come. Actually, [her given name], I knew exactly what you meant. And then I turned away and managed to not speak with her for most of the night. I don’t think she really wanted to speak with me, either. I hope she saw me walk over to the most luminous legal luminary present and have a friendly, comfortable chat.
On Tuesday lunch at a café, owned by an Asian woman, staffed by all and sundry. My (Asian) friend and (Asian) I were paying the bill, when another woman asked the owner (who was on the till) if the café would be open tomorrow, being the Ekka “People’s Day” public holiday (it’s a quirk of Australia).
The owner said: oh no! and laughed. We Asians like our businesses to remain open when other people shut. Then she turned to my (Asian) friend and (Asian) me and said: don’t’ we?
I blinked at her in surprise and looked over at my friend. I am a lawyer at a middle-sized firm. She’s an accountant at a large firm. The people who patronise this café are people who wear suits and work at the various businesses in Brisbane’s ‘prestigious’ end of town, and I know the owner knows that a lot of her regulars are from the law and accounting firms round the area. Sometimes she serves me after serving someone else, even though I was there first, and says gratingly and apologetically, that was so and so from some large national firm. And I always want to say (but haven’t yet been brave enough): I know and I really don’t care. I was first.
So, what do these events tell me?
Event # 2 made me angry, but events # 1 & 3, which made similar assumptions about my Asian-ness did not raise any ire. A little amusement, and perhaps a raised eyebrow. (Okay, maybe a little ire.)
Looks like I’m racist too.