October 15, 2009
Riddle me this, little ones. Pretend that every single morning you stroll into work and every single afternoon as you depart for your three-hour lunch, you noticed a small middle-aged Asian gentleman with large gold-rimmed bifocals sitting in the lobby for everyone to see. Said man has a laptop out (odds are its a Sony), earphones on and a phone book open (no, you jackass, not to stand on, even though we all know Asian men are especially short) on a table.
What would you do? Let's also imagine that, in addition to having been born with killer hair, Jesus also graced you with a keen sense of intuition and incredible problem solving skills, too. And that upon realizing years ago that these characteristics are can be both a gift and a curse, let's just say that you've noticed, upon the face of this lobbyist (I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself), a slight twinge of pain, a hint of remorse, and an aura plagued by sorrowful lamentation. What would you do? Would you answer "the call" to action?
You're goddamn right you'd answer that call. I mean, you're a giver, right? While at first, you surmised his look of despair was a result of squinted eyes paired with a bright computer screen, you quickly begin to understand that the issue has to go deeper and is probs far more complex as you address the problem internally. You start each day asking yourself what you could do to brighten this man's day, despite the fact he is probably a direct relative of Jon Gosselin and that motherfucker who forgets to utilize his right turn signal every morning in his Toyota Corolla.
Okay, fuck that, I can't keep up these guessing games anymore - but I will continue with the story. For like three days I wondered what I could do to help out, and add yet another middle-aged individual to my ever-growing United Nations band of office building friends.
To get a better feel a few afternoons ago, I sat, square across from homeboy, just to get an idea of his mindset. You know what happened? Not a fucking thing. After vowing to figure out which Honda Accord (with the Beijing Olympics bumper sticker) belongs to him in the parking lot (calm down, I just wanted to leave a note of good cheer), it hit me. I, being a typical American, was totes making this all about me. I changed my mantra myself, "What does Albert (IDFK what a good Asian name is, sorry . . . Wang?) need?" and "How can I make Albert grin and show me those communist-cared teeth?"
I'll tell you what Albert fucking needs, besides to start teaching me karate and helping me prune my bonsai tree. He needs a friend, an ally in this bitter world of lobby politics. And if there's one thing I can do (albeit begrudgingly) its that, provide my shoulder to cry on and open my heart, in essence, I can be that friend.
But first, as per usual, I've gotta break the (r)ice. The thing is, the bitch is ultra-unresponsive. Maybe right now he thinks he doesn't want to be bothered, or he's jealous that I can pronounce the "l" sound, but as soon as we're pal(r?)s, he'll change that tune. I've decided that all I need for a "friendship go-ahead" is a basic salutation, or at least acknowledgement. This might be tricky for the following reasons: (1) I'm not sure if he's blind; and (2) I'm not sure he knows a lick of English! I mean, both of those are totally fine, I do love a challenge.
I think I read somewhere that there are like 100 million Asian dialects -- like Chinese and Taiwanese and North Korean (the communist, American-hating dialect plus any others) and then South Korean and Japanese and Mongolian, the list goes on forever. But, for my friends, I've got all the time in the damn world. I've already tried sitting across from him and confronting him the American way - head on. That was unsuccessful. Yesterday, I waved as I walked in . . nothing. Today, I bowed, as if he were my Sensei or that teacher in Karate Kid. Not even a bite.
The next step is obvious. I'm going to have to figure out how to say "Hi! What's up?" in every single Asian dialect, language and colloquial slang, put it in a list and then mark them off as I try them out.
Let's cross our fingers that he isn't like the bitches that do my nails, though. I will not have him freaking the fuck out & ruining my manicure just because I address him as Vietnamese when he's really from Taiwan, or whatever! You know all that shit is "Made in China" anyway. I'm also going to take it a step further and put a Hello Kitty cell phone charm on my Blackberry and a spoiler on a P.O.S Honda I'm going to have to borrow.
At this stage, I'm confident in our budding friendship. Sure, it may take time, effort and a whole lotta love, but, as Confucius said: "the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step," and let's be honest, I'm in it to win it.