Thursday, December 08, 2005

Are you kidding me?

I like how my mom slips in "by the ways" in our afternoon chats the way conversation fillers occupy silence; the way you'd start narrating what you're doing by the phone because you've sufficiently updated the other person on the other end ("I never noticed how dirty my ceiling is. ... and now I'm bleeding from the butt. I'll call you back").

The cell phone does a vibrating dance, backlight illuminating the caller ID -- MOM.

"Leelee?" she chimes. "You awake?"

It's 2 p.m.

"No."

She proceeds to make small talk. I can barely position the gadget near the vicinity of my ear, mumbling half-coherent sentences she doesn't respond to. After another mouthful of niceties, she gets to the point: That guy I met on vacation this year? That handsome, yet highly sheepish, boy who took me out on evening dessert runs and picked out that watch I've since stopped wearing? He'll be living with my parents for at least the month of December until he gains his footing in Toronto for "academic-purposes." This coincides with, of course, my trip home for the holidays.

I go berserk. Tongue-tied and sleepy, I lash out at her:

"And what? What does he have to do with me?" I begin. "Did you intend to see to it that I entertain him? It's just like you Chinese people to do this! Always! Oh, two kids, same age, it'll be a gas! That's how you Chinese people think! You'll ... you'll make him tag along when I'm out with friends to 'show him around,' that's what you'll do. And, well," I take a breath, "you'll just find reasons to put us together!"

She is silent. Then:

"Why you so crazy all da time? Yelling, yelling, everytime I call, you yelling. I no say anything! You crazy, I no speak to you!" and hangs up on me.

I sit up in bed and immediately start rationalizing. The disturbing truth escapes from all the grey. Sure, I don't want the burden of tour guide duties, nor do I want to see him feel unwelcome in a foreign country, away from like-minded friends, and completely isolated by his language barrier. There are times when even though I recognize what I'm doing is wrong, I still can't be bothered to do right, compelled to be self-serving for its own sake. And this is one of those times. Anyway, the "disturbing truth" is this: How the hell am I going to get away with hanging around the house in various states of undress if there's going to be a hormonally-charged teenager there? My parents already warn houseguests of my "unmannerly conduct" with playful resignation (unless the news is received in utter horror, in which case, they pretend to be shocked too). Imagine having to reveal to my Potential Summer Fling my Secret Single Behaviour: it'll be an excruciating game of understated blue balls. I'm bloody right to be worried!

Sexy Spinster said she understood what I was trying to say, but the way I went about explaining it to my mother was all wrong:

"You shouldn't have said, 'You Chinese people,' because it's a problem with everyone's parents."

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