at home he's a tourist.
© 2003 Jamie Zawinski <firstname.lastname@example.org>
We were having dinner at a Thai restaurant, and got to do some quality eavesdropping on the family at the table behind us. It started off badly enough: the dad was telling the little girl that she'd better work really hard on her reading homework this month, because when they moved to Las Vegas after Christmas, she was already going to be the new kid, and if she also couldn't read as well as the rest of them, she'd be really unpopular. And he was doing this in condescending baby-talk. I remember being 7 or 8, and I might not have known the word "condescending", but I sure did know it when I heard it. So I hated him already.
Shortly after that, the waiter came over to take their order. Just before he got to the table, he said something to another waiter in non-English.
|Dad:||What language was that?|
|Waiter:||Um... no, Thai.|
|Dad:||But Thailand is in Taiwan, right?|
|Mom:||They're two different places...|
|Dad:||But they're both in China, right? Or Japan?|
The waiter made some kind of embarrassed noise, presumably hoping he could just get to the taking of the order. At this point, I think dad might have gotten the slightest inkling that he'd just made an ass of himself, so he switched on the full-bore Marketing Weasel charm and started talking to the waiter like he was glad-handing him at a trade show:
|Dad:|| Hey, what was your name again?
(I loved the "again" -- he'd never been told the guys name and he knew it!)
|Dad:||No no, what's your real name? Your Thai name?|
At this point, we couldn't hold it in any more and burst out laughing.