Read the Silence

This is a true story of why some people may say no to their hosts.

When I was a little girl, my mum sometimes took me on her visits to friends. There was an unwritten, yet all the more solid, rule: under no circumstances could I disturb them; interrupt their conversation let alone ask for anything from our hostess. If I wanted to eat or drink something, I had to wait until we get home. If they offered me some biscuits etc, I had to, automatically but politely, refuse and only if they insisted, was I allowed to accept, but only after I glanced at my mum and she nodded gently to signal her permission. And my friends wonder why I have trouble opening their fridge when I’m at theirs’!

30 years later, in another corner of the planet I hear the following story and I wish this uncle you’ll know of had been my mother’s son for a year. I have a Chinese friend here, who owns a small restaurant in the centre. So small it has only one tiny room which resembles very much my granny’s old living room. She is young, kind and jovial, with smily eyes, the one that makes you feel welcome from the very first moment you meet her.

She was working in one of her places and it was lunch time rush hour, with hardly any space left to sit anyone else down for a while. She and the rest of the staff were scurrying to tend to all in time and give service with a smile. Her husband’s distant uncle happened to pass by, just to see how she was doing. She gave him a table, and, though she asked several times if she could offer him anything, Hungry? Thirsty? and the answer was always a no, she still took him a pot of some nice tea and apologized intensively that she needed to attend to the customers and she’d sat down to him shortly.

The uncle seemed ok and he politely agreed. Sure, she should go back to work, he can wait. After half an hour he left and called her husband, angry that she totally ignored him and, bffff, how this rudeness!

Family rules!

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2 Responses to Read the Silence

  1. Manyi says:

    Well, actually, I can’t remember you ever having problems opening the fridge at my place…

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