Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Awkward moments

It's been a long time since I last had a vacation.

My last vacation was in October of 2008.  Yes, that particular "vacation" lasted until January, 2009, but I only got paid for a very small part of it.

I have vacation coming up next week, and I can't tell you how much I'm looking for it.  I'm looking forward to it a lot.  Okay, that was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  We've got family visiting, we'll be doing a little traveling, doing some visiting of our own, and generally doing our best impression of people trying to relax but not really succeeding.

I can't wait to come back on the Monday and saying "oh, man, I need another day just to recover".

But this blog post isn't about that.  It's about what happened to me on the weekend.

We went to our company picnic on Saturday.  It was a hot, bright, sunshine filled day and we were really looking forward to finding out what kind of shindig the company put together for us.

I walked up to the first available person at the check in table and gave the woman working there my last name.  She seemed very happy to help me, which I took to mean that she was serious about her customer service skills.  In retrospect, it was probably something else.

She gave me our tickets and told us where everything was and I thanked her.  As I was turning to walk away, she held up her hand: "Just a second!"  She looked like she was about to give us some kind of legal disclaimer.  She took a deep breath and, with a great big smile, said...
"KONICHIWA!"
I was confused.  She looked like my cat after dropping a dead bird at my feet.  I stared.  She continued to smile.
"It's the only word I know!"
I stared a little longer.  Then I said the only thing I could think of.
"I'm...not Japanese."
Then we walked away.

She had the best of intentions, I'm sure she was trying to respect my diversity.  But what she was really saying was "You look different, and you have an Asian name, so I'm going to speak some ASIAN."  It was truly the most awkward racial moment I've had at work in recent memory.

Afterward, I realized I should have responded:
"Buenos dias!"
 Because, you know, she looked European.

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