Chinese restaurant story

Today I’m having barbecue duck noodle soup for lunch, as I often do, in a local restaurant. 

I’m earnestly reading and making notes, as I often do, but can’t quite block out what’s going on behind me. 

A 20-something man and his mother alternate between Cantonese and English. 

The son’s English is perfect. He sounds like was raised here and is trying to get his mother to understand something about education and job search. 

For a while, I mostly stay focused on my book and my soup. And then I hear the magic words: emotional intelligence.

He repeats it a few times. He tells her it’s important—more important than she knows.

As I get up to leave, I casually look around and catch a glimpse of this oddly familiar scene.

The son is eating his congee slowly, watching and waiting for his mother to respond.

She says nothing. He stares at her but she’s busy reading a newspaper. She is ignoring him well.

Then he says it again: emotional intelligence. 

I can’t help but smile as I leave. 

He can’t see it but the newspaper she is reading is a flyer—an advertisement for monster trucks.

I’m still smiling—-for him and for her.  



5 Responses to “Chinese restaurant story”

  1. Wd Fyfe Says:

    Annie, you finally met my mom.

  2. Audrey Byrd Says:

    Ah, emotional intelligence! What a gift…there for all of us to open and enjoy but some of us think it’s safer to focus on monster trucks.

    P.S. Annie, there’s no doubt in my mind. You will not die as a bud.

  3. amoriarty Says:

    Soothing words, from one so wise.
    Thanks Audrey.
    I’ll keep trying.

  4. Audrey Byrd Says:

    I did smile as you did at this story…it isn’t realy funny for the young man, but hunorous how mama handles her expectant and disatisfied son without uttering the words, “Don’t make me feel. I don’t want to. Can’t “.

    Now the Aussie one reduced me to tears, not dificult to shed, as it dropped me down into everyone’s pain.

    Maybe the young Chinese man ought to show the Aussie video to his Mom.

    P.S. Re your work: Annie, don’t try, just let your heart flow with your mind and be sure to capture the moment.

    The real work and the real trying come soon enough! Proofing and editing. Now that’s long, repititious, tedious work! But when you finally ‘feel you got it right’, Eureka!

    Hemingway , when asked how he could write so well, said three words, “Edit,edit, edit”. Einstein said, “Genius is ten percent inspiration, ninety percent persperation”. Oh well… and we keep on keeping on.

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