Friday, August 04, 2006

a note

dear new woman who looks like she might come from the same place my parents do,

you might be new to the job or just filling in for someone in that other department, but i think it's downright rude for a person, especially the new kid (no matter what your age) to outrightly gawk at a person just sitting there, minding her own job. yeah, i saw you. i have seen you EVERY time you have walked by and given me a nasty staredown. despite your openmouthed gape, i smiled back at you. and even said hello. did you even bother reciprocating? no. you couldn't even afford to give me a smile back. and worse yet, when we were washing our hands near each other in the bathroom, you just stared and stared. what's your damage, biotch?

i get it. i understand about the cardinal rule* and all that it entails, but DUDE, when you're in a professional work environment, have some class. don't bring that shopping mall nonsense in a place of business. as of this evening, you have used up all the free smiles and hellos i have to offer. and DON'T YOU DARE be fake nice to me after some third party formally introduces us. you are making it very difficult for me to be cordial in the event that we may have to work on something together in the future.

being the bigger person that i am, i will still hold the elevator should i see you, but god help me if you don't say thank you, it will be as though you never existed in my mind.

good day.


*the cardinal rule is such that if a person looks like he/she may be from the country of one's own origin, one MUST stare until eyes meet. no smiling is required, only a nonverbal acknowledgement that both parties have taken note that the other is a countryman/paisano/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. this rule is standard anywhere in the public realm, most effectively in shopping areas or other situations with little personal interaction. however, in a place of employment or if the subject is a friend of a friend/parent of a friend/friend of a parent, etc. etiquette requires the extra effort for a hello or a smile. through rigorous research via word of mouth, it has been extrapolated that this practice started long ago when immigrants from the motherland were scarce here, and became solidified after the immigration act of 1965, when increased numbers of asian settlers arrived. the motherland culture leans heavily on honor and protocol and all backstabbing must be done covertly. deviation can result in loss of face. to those not of motherland heritage, this rule may seem archaic and a little inane, but at its inception the cardinal rule was used as a means to help out a fellow struggling immigrant who may have been facing difficulties that come with living in a foreign land, like racism, culture shock and nostalgia. sadly, the rule has taken a turn for the worse in recent years, where it is not about helping out a fellow countryperson, but merely to assess how well one has done for himself as well as the specific state-origin, religion and other heritage in one smile-less glance.


Ale said...

thank you cadiz for the wonderful introspection into the sub-cultural slice of the modern society. or what i just said...

dude, totally- haha i play a different game- when people from the old country stare me down i play the game- i'm ignoring you and oblivious- to make them think they're mistaken.

also... i reverse play this game on people from other cultures- making them think i'm one of THEM... hahah it totally works- you see the little computation look come accross their face.

you're a genius!

Radioactive Jam said...

And eventually you find out you're a ringer for (a) the person her ex-whatever ran off with, or (b) someone who made her life miserable in time past. And eventually *she* figures out you're not that person. But she still somehow "blames" you for resembling her nemesis. So - you're good, but she's still bitter.

Her loss.

Jon said...

I use a different approach all together. I let people get to know me, then they find out for themselves that I’m a jerk and they stop talking to me. It seems to work pretty well.

wendela said...

So that's why I get all those hard-a** stares around here? All this time I just thought it was because I thought I don't look anything like the people who've immigrated to this area. Smiling doesn't work, I have found.

Great post! :)

Anonymous said...

She's not staring at you with her mouth agape because you share the same country of origin. It's because she knows you're a Bruja and she's afraid if she speaks to you, you will cast a spell on her.

Guyana-Gyal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Guyana-Gyal said...

This was quite a good post!

Aha! So that's what happened to my sis. one night when she went out with her hubby and two little boys. She said she saw some fellow Guyanese staaaaring.

I think if folks are freshly off the boat / plane...they're all agog and don't know what to do with their eyes, mouth.

I know how you don't like folks staring.