Sunday, September 28, 2003

Communication breakdown.
Sunday I'd just finished downing a lunch of potstickers and Concord grapes and was preparing to take a stroll to the nearby park when there was a loud knocking on my metal gate door . There was the real estate agent who'd "found" the apartment for me.
He seemed frantic and smiling at the same time.
"Mr. Tan say you work now! You go work now!"
My phone still isn't hooked up so apparently Mr. Tan had sent the nearest English speaking lackey to roust me. I'm not scheduled to work Sundays, but hurried back to find a boatload of fresh stories in my editing cue and no Mr. Tan in sight.
I dutifully began "polishing" when he strolled in about 50 minutes later, fresh from lunch.
"Uh...Mr. Tan. It would really help if you'd tell me ahead of time if you want me to work on a day off. You were lucky I was there."
He sucked on his teeth with an intake of breath, something I've discovered some Chinese do when confronted with a "difficult" question, statement or revelation. Others giggle nervously or laugh outright.
"Yes. Yes. I forgot. Because of the upcoming holidays I have been very busy. I am sorry."
At least he apologized. I didn't ask him about overtime. Maybe tomorrow. I can only take so much tooth sucking and he can only take so many inconvienent questions.

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