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    Not Really Our Calling

    | Irvine, CA, USA |

    (I am a server. It is slowing down during my shift, and I’m usually happy to talk with my customers. I have a well-meaning elderly couple at my table. I was born and raised here, college educated, and speak in a standard American dialect, almost valley girl sounding when I get giddy.)

    Me: “So, is everything tasting great?”

    Old man: “Yes, thank you. So, I’m curious, where are you from?”

    (What he really wants to know, is what kind of non-white race am I.)

    Me: “My parents are from India.”

    Old man: “Oh! Indian, huh? Well, your English is very good. You should work in those, uh, those call centers… yeah! Because every time I call customer service, I can hardly understand what they are saying!”

    Me: “Um… thank you, but that’s really not… uh… my area of interest.”

    Old man: *shrugs* “Ah, well.”

    Me: *forced, polite smile* “I’ll be back to check on you in a bit…”