Mother, You

Good Man and I talked to Mother yesterday. Near the end of the call, I tuned out while Good Man kept repeating himself and Mother kept yelling and—and—

“What’s the problem?” I asked Good Man.

“I am trying to ask when I should call her again, but she thinks I’m talking about your mother and she’s trying to tell me she can’t call your mother because she doesn’t know English.”

I laughed and nodded. Finally, Good Man said, “Mom, when should I call Mother’s-Full-Name-Mrs again?”

It’s a bit of a relief to know that the high-context language of Korean confuses even native speakers.