Enter Stage Left: The Asian Mom

My mother and I just had a phone call. She’s called three times in the past two days. that always makes me sniff in curiosity. I’d called her back but she’d gone out. So I called her again. The italics are my translations of what she’s actually saying.

After ten minutes of chatting about nothing in particular, she reaches the point where she can finally ask me for what she’s called for.
Ten minutes is the minimal acceptable length of time required to speak to someone before you can ask them to do you a favour. anything before then is rude.

“Where do you shop?”
This is a lead-in question. she knows Vons and Safeway are the same company. she knows I shop at Vons because it’s like Safeway which is a comfort shopping place for me. a place I am familiar with. yes, I am programmed with the damned need-for-rituals thing with the headcase. I answer Vons, which is Safeway. She then says…

“If you’ve got time…
I say this. it usually means i’d like you to do this but I don’t want to impose so I want to make sure you have a way to save face and not have to put yourself out because of me.

“Can you see if they have escargot in a can for me. KTA (a local Hawai’i store) doesn’t carry it anymore.
Ah… here we go.

We then proceed to talk loosely about EXACTLY what she wants. In a very roundabout way. They sell the case for 40 dollars here but that’s too many cans. and they would get ‘maka’ before I get to the end of the case.
40 dollars is too much to spend for this. I’m only going to eat a couple of cans a year, MAYBE. It’s true. The cans would be rusted and disgusting inside by the time she got through eating 12 cans of escargot.

It’s disgusting to clean escargot.
Be sure to buy the cleaned ones for me. I clean pig intestines full of shit without blinking. if I think escargot cleaning is disgusting, you know it must be.

I have the shells and everything. I just need the escargot.
When you buy me the cans, do not waste time or money on anything else. I’m good. Just send me the damned cans.

The ones they have in the case aren’t the extra large. Why would anyone get 48 tiny little slugs in a can to eat?
Be sure to buy the extra large.

They sell 12 of them already prepared in the shell and with the garlic butter in the frozen aisle but those are 38 dollars for one.
“For one” means a package. There is no way in hell my mother would ever spend 38 dollars for 12 escargot from the frozen food section. I’m a lazy hedonist and I balk at that.

Let me know how much it is and I will send you money.
I want to know what brand you’re looking at before you buy them. I want to be sure you understand the undertones of what I’m saying to you even though I know you speak fluent ‘merle’ (my mom).

After the escargot discussion, that was it. She was done. It was kiss kiss bye. Talk to you later. She doesn’t buy from Amazon so buying from them to ship to Hawai’i is out. She doesn’t trust them but she’ll buy from eBay because you know, those are real people. :::sighs::: I’ll send her some from Amazon because it’s okay if I buy from them and ship to her. Don’t ask. I don’t make up the rules. I just write them down. Escargot. In water. Cleaned. Extra large.

People talk about reading between the lines being hard. They obviously don’t know people raised in an Asiatic culture where you have to learn how to read between the breaths.

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