Ranch 99 Market

This is just a quick hello….

I don’t trust myself to speak with equanimity when I am so bloated from sugar derived from a red bean filled, just eat the last one, doughnut.

This weekend began hungrily enough. M and I debated about eating lunch at Sam Woo’s. I lost.
We ate their Beef Broccoli with ramen noodles (way too much ginger), Orange and Kung Pao Chicken with rice. What they lack in quality, they give back in styrofoam containers, sublimated affection in their portions. A one item combo could have easily satisfied two. And since M and I weren’t hungry, we had to each have a combo unto ourselves.

We walk back into the grocery store to find dessert to cleanse out palate after lunch. Sam Woo hasn’t decided to change his deep frying oil in this century. Next to the Customer Service desk, there was staff marketing the week’s special on red grapes. In a bowl of crushed ice, there were red grapes chilling. The young lady served each fruit with individual toothpicks to the passing shoppers.

Perhaps it was the enormous size of each grape, the presentation of fruit on a pick or the exotic quality of all the “orientals” shopping in the market that confused the Caucasian female to ask “What is that?”

M, “That is one of the stupidest questions I have ever heard. What is the matter with her? Has she not seen a grape before?”

She heard his words. She didn’t read the sign that wrote the fruit and its special price for the week.

It must be overwhelming to be the minority in the room.
It retards your speech and disorients you in terms of public manners and self knowledge.

You feel like the environment is unfamiliar even though you know you have been grocery shopping for most of your adult life, you have seen demonstrators sell samples and feed strangers walking by on the hour at the local Costcos.

You even “see” people of color while at work and in other spaces while living your daily southern california sunny life but you defensively get retarded and insecure wondering if the person with “slanted” eyes and high water pants speaks (fluent) English.

Your English breaks down and your speech slow and pitch high.

Simply accept that you are in the cultural minority and adjust accordingly to the environment. Don’t regress or get retarded voluntarily. And if you don’t know that you don’t know, decide how to go next time with a friend, a guide into this foreign land in your back yard.

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About heartbluestockings

All posts are original intellectual property. Copyright 2010 Hae Jung Kwon. All rights reserved.
This entry was posted in Cultural Criticisms, What the Pho?. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Ranch 99 Market

  1. Patricia says:

    Oh, where do I begin? Love the “what they lack in quality” line and the whole humor of those first paragraphs, “see” in quotes, “foreign land in your back yard”.

    I feel I’ve been on both sides of the fence on this one. I’ve been part of the “majority” and the “minority”, being perceived as “us”, “them” and “?”. I can’t tell you how many times people have come up to me asking some variation of “what are you?” My ability to “blend” has granted me privileges of the majority and, embarrassingly, has allowed me to commit their faux pas as well. I’ll never forget the time I was told off for referring to Asians as “Orientals”. Hello! Even hapa girls aren’t immune…the thing is, I think someone forgot to tell my Japanese mother, who will still “slip up” and refer to “those Orientals”!

    • Thank you for your honesty in these matters and everything else, really…I realized recently how much energy I involve myself over the idea of controlling the behaviors of others. I indulge in self defeating emotions a lot over the construction of our social selves, our false selves and ultimately irrelevant selves. Happiness will never be fully experienced in control freakdom. And that’s where I went, when I saw an other speak aloud her ignorance and make the asian grocery store an exotic show for her immdiate (dis)pleasure.

  2. liz says:

    only when we, as a species, have eventually interbred enough so that we’ve become more or less homogeneous, will we even be likely to begin the elimination of the “us vs. them” game. until then, i suppose, such ignorance will continue to flourish.

    “the sneeches” – one of my personal favorites of all time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sneetches_and_Other_Stories

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