Round Two: Fight! parts one and two were with Mother over a lovely watch and a lovely handbag. I lost. I called Good Man during the watch debate and asked him to help me. He tried to help, but when I got the phone back, he said, “You have no choice. Just say ‘yes.'”
Mother and I went outlet shopping yesterday and it was actually a lot of fun. We were together for more than eight hours without Good Man and we only had to resort to my dictionary twice, for “coral” and “honey” (because I was pronouncing it like “mandarin orange”). I even managed to explain what vanity license plates are, which was not something I ever expected I’d have to explain in Korean.
I was a little worried about how the day would go, but for the most part it was like shopping with my mom or Fairy Godmother. We sat down to sort out all of our coupons and plotted out a plan of attack. We made faces at ugly things, looked for our sizes in cute things, and giggled a lot.
Mother wasn’t familiar with all of the American brands, so she’d poke her head in a store, cry out, “Grandmother clothing!” and bow out.
She poked around in every shoe store we passed. At Naturalizer Outlet she kept saying, “These are so comfortable! These are really comfortable!”
At the handbag store, Mother managed to find the sole Korean-speaking employee. She asked the employee where the brown version of a bag was. I answered before the employee could, “저기요.”
The employee nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard me speak. Mother smiled and nodded, “우리 며느리예요.” She’s my daughter-in-law.
The way people reacted to us while shopping was interesting. One person asked me if we were speaking French (what?) and when I said Korean she just couldn’t believe I could speak Korean and how did I learn Korean? (I’m tempted to say I woke up and could magically speak it.)
At the restaurant we had lunch at the hostess froze and said, “Are you speaking Korean?” Turns out she went to some private high school mostly made up of Korean students, so she knew a few phrases and how to write and read Hangul. Mother was impressed.
Other people were looking at us, and I suspect they were trying to figure out our relationship. I mean, a late-twenties white woman with a mid-fifties Korean woman and nobody else around? That’s a bit odd. If Good Man had been there, they would’ve been able to figure it out. At least he’s the right age and skin color to be Mother’s child or nephew or something.
When I modeled a lovely dress, Mother said, “다이어트해…” Go on a diet.
It was the second time Mother had said it, and while I know logically that Koreans show love by commenting about weight, I was tired of it. “어머니, 다시 말하시면, 저는 갈거예요.” Mother, if you say it again, I will go home.
I won, because she didn’t say it again.
Mother has been making breakfast, lunch, and dinner most meals. This morning breakfast included tomato juice, which Mother made this morning.
I have a weird relationship with tomatoes. I love tomato sauce, paste, and salsa, but I hate raw tomatoes. I pick them off of salads and sandwiches. I can stand one small can of V8 because it’s got some other ingredients in it.
Mother had made pure tomato juice—with a dollop of olive oil in it.
I said, “Mother…I really don’t like tomatoes.”
I drank two large gulps.
“Mother, I really don’t like tomatoes.”
“You eat pasta sauce and that has tomatoes—”
Good Man tried to help me out, “No, she really doesn’t like tomatoes…”
While he was explaining, I was muttering, “Where did these tomatoes come from? We didn’t have tomatoes in the house. I don’t usually buy tomatoes. Who bought these tomatoes? I hate tomatoes.”
Mother raised her voice to scold me, “Tomato juice is very healthy! So is extra-virgin olive oil!”
“Mother,” I said, “you like all foods?”
“All foods everywhere?”
I laughed, “So you would eat cow eyeballs?”
Mother started laughing, “No…”
“Well, this is like cow eyeballs to me.”
Mother picked up my glass and plunked it in front of Good Man. “You drink it.” She made me get some orange juice.
A few minutes later she told me to eat more fruit. I was feeling full. “[Good Man] hasn’t eaten any fruit,” I said.
“He’s drinking your tomato juice!”
Maybe that Fight! was a three-way draw.