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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

General Tso's Tofu


Tai Pan, West Lake Drive & Stevenson, Springfield.

We go to Tai Pan only a couple times a year. And I don't know why we don't go more often, since the food is always good and the nicest people work there. Tonight the conversation with our waitress took me totally off guard. We had never seen her there before. She could have been anywhere between 15 and 25, but probably more like 18.

Once when she brought our drink refills, she said to my daughter, "is this your mama?" while indicating towards me. Though her English was pretty good, it was hard to understand her accent. Thinking she was asking both of us how the food was, we said, yes. Or something like that.

Later, when it came time to settle the bill, she asked me if I had a son, too. I told her, no, that I have two daughters. Her attitude seemed to change to happier. She said some other things, which we could barely understand. I just did not expect this and I felt so old and out of it and and I didn't know what she was talking about and maybe she sensed that. Because then she clearly said, "you are so lucky you can have two girls." And then she walked away.

By the time we got to the car, the meaning of the conversation had thoroughly sunk in and it was all I could do to keep from breaking down in tears. This is something I've heard about and read about, but it never seemed so real and (I can't think of the word; inconsolable?) as hearing it from someone who would have first-hand knowledge.

And I apologize if I sound like an idiot and a rube, but what she said and her happiness and sincerity deeply affected me. [I may remove this narrative after I've snapped out of it. But not because I might be embarrassed or feel stupid, but for her.]

Posted by Marie at September 9, 2008 10:38 PM


Maybe (probably) I'm an idiot and rube too, but are you thinking she was referring to the one child policy in China? Or the fact that sons are more prized in China because of the one child rule in combination with a large dose of sexism?

Posted by: Dave at September 10, 2008 12:00 AM

The one child policy. Though she may have been thinking of the other. I don't know.

Posted by: Marie at September 10, 2008 12:16 AM

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