Thursday, April 10, 2014

'can you repeat that?'

A couple of weeks ago during a not-so-crowded morning commute, a woman got on the train and sat down in the seat to my right. She had on a puffy faux fur coat (I assume it was fake), a jeweled ring on each of her fingers, and a permanent frown that sat easily among the wrinkles on her face.

The man on the other side of her was taking up a seat and a half, so she couldn't lean back. At 72nd, the person sitting to my left got up and exited, and the woman elbowed me and started talking in my direction. I had my headphones in and my Spotify app playing, so I removed an ear bud and said, "I'm sorry, can you repeat that?"

She sighed loudly and then raised her voice.

"YOU. NEED. TO. MOVE. OVER. SO. I. CAN. LEAN. BACK. O. K? YOU. SPEAK. ENGLISH?"

She drew out the last word. Enggggggg-glish.

I would've moved had she asked nicely and left the condescending tone and offensive implication out. But before I could say anything, a man across from us chimed in:

"Hey, she just answered you in perfectly clear English," he said. "Don't do that."

The woman looked taken aback and made an audible, "Ugh!" sound. I got up and decided to stand for the rest of my commute, but first thanked the man who spoke up. Perhaps he felt compelled to say something as a fellow Asian person, I'm not sure, but it was a much calmer response than the one I probably would've ended up giving.

(In case you were wondering: no, I didn't end up flipping her off before I got off the train even though I really, really wanted to.)

No comments:

Post a Comment