For the last two years I have frequented the same Japanese restaurant. It’s just down the road from my place. About three times a week the lovely Japanese lady hands me my Teriyaki chicken, salad and rice and I hand her twelve bucks and walk home. My order is always the same. It tastes amazing, it’s clean and lean, there’s a quick turnaround (from phone order to pick up) and it’s great value.
Win, win, win, win.
So familiar is the lovely Japanese lady with my ritual order that when I call, I don’t even need to tell her what I want. She hears my voice and says “ok, see you in ten minutes”. The entire conversation lasts no more than five seconds.
Oh, how I love five second phone calls.
Thirteen minutes after I make the call I’m back home with twelve dollars worth of sensory joy. As I’m pouring my chicken and rice into a bowl, I can actually hear my taste buds applauding and yes, there may still be a minor food issue.
And while the lovely Japanese lady and I have a connection regarding my regular nutritional requirements, we seem to have something of a disconnect in the realm of language and humour. Sometimes it takes a sixty year-old Japanese woman to remind me about subjective reality, culture and communication. And how funny I’m not. This week she did it with one simple sentence.
Here’s the scenario…
I walk into the restaurant, she looks in my direction, smiles and speaks…
She says the same thing every time while picking up my take-away bag from the counter.
“Yep, thought I’d try something different tonight.”
I say hilariously.
She looks at me dead pan. Like I’m an idiot. I hand over my money and wish I could retract my hilarious words. I’m feeling decidedly unfunny and my favourite Japanese lady is giving me nuthin’. I squirm. A few people waiting for their food glance in my direction. I avoid eye contact and my sphincter snaps shut in embarrassment.
“No, you always have Teliyaki chicken.”
She says matter-of-factly.
‘Can’t argue with that’, I tell myself. For a nano-second I consider trying to explain the irony and genius of my comment. No, my humiliation hole is deep enough.
“Yes I do.”
I reply pathetically.
I pick up my bag, leave my self-esteem behind and skulk off like a chastised dog.