“The one he stalked, right?”—more adventures with a foreign national


As I’ve posted before, my roommate is a great guy, but occasionally I get a glimpse of how he sees us—the American savages.

I insisted we go out to dinner because I had a Groupon for a sushi place.  KN is very pragmatic about this. He weighs all the pros & cons.  On the one hand, it was raining, and cold, and we had to drive—but I would be doing the driving. On the other hand, I had already paid for most of the bill, would do the driving, it was Japanese—& not my cooking.

The place had mixed reviews, but no matter.  So, we sit  down  at our table, and KN says, “It sucks to be me.”

“Why does it suck to be you?”  I asked.  “You had a great Thanksgiving, and..”
“It was the worst Thanksgiving ever!? he says.

“The food was great. Elaine made that French Silk Pie, and…”

“That guy!  Who cares who he was dating?”  KN went on. He was right. I had invited a friend whom I knew had nowhere else to go, and she asked to bring an acquaintance, and he was a bore.  He thought a fit topic of conversation among older, single women was worst dates. I guess he was just making conversation, and the problem was that a couple of  my other friends encouraged him.  What might have been funny to hear on This American Life, was  a bit obnoxious.  But, in the general scheme of things to me, a mere aggravation. The food was great.  We had other conversation.  However, to someone  for whom English is not a first language…it can sound like dogs barking.

KN had ordered an appetizer, some sort of shaved beef wrapped around asparagus.  It was fine, but …

“Eat more. Don’t you like it?”  KN asked.

“Well, you know my father was a meat packer, and I grew up eating beef  five nights a week.  It’s good, but  really, if I never tasted beef again, I would not miss it.  And hon, you  think my cooking is bad?  You should have tasted my mother’s!  She admitted that  she could barely cook and didn’t enjoy it,”  I explained.

“You mean the one he stalked.”  KN  answered.

“Huh?”

“The  one your father stalked,”  KN repeated.

Riiiight…    My father is now married to my stepmother, whom he  did not stalk.  KN had heard the story of how my father met my mother.  He had seen her leaving a beauty salon in  their neighborhood, and he had gone in  to get her phone number, and they would only give my father her name. So he asked around, among his friends, and he learned she worked for Sear’s, downtown, and went to her job and started hanging around and asking her out (this started, with my father, a lifelong habit of  appearing where his children worked, and snooping…whether it was an office or a retail business).

From the perspective of a guy who has no idea how his parents met, and who never pursued a girlfriend, I guess this  would seem like stalking.     And he knows that my father did not stalk my stepmother, whom my father is married to now.  In any case,  we both got a laugh out of this.

And we went home, and I had the very amusing pleasure of watching KN eat potato chips with chopsticks (so he would not get his keyboard oily).  This is  my life…

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