Saturday, September 26, 2009
I know I'm passive-aggressive. I can accept that about myself. But how passive is too passive?
"Why you not married, yet?" she asks me. "You so handsome." She is the owner and operator of the dry cleaning service. She is an older Korean lady who looks younger than she really is. She reminds me of my mother, except with more make up and a better dye job.
"Oh, no. Marriage is too expensive," I tell her as I pay for my clean shirts. "I just finished college. I have to save up for retirement, now." My excuses sound weak, lame, even as they are coming out of my mouth. They hold for only so long.
"Why you not married, yet?" she keeps pressing, even months later.
Finally, I start to level with her. "You know the other Japanese guy that comes in here, the one whose shirts I pay for sometimes? That's my partner. We are together. He is my marriage."
She seems only mildly surprised. "No, but you should marry woman, have children," she insists. "It not good to be alone."
I remain polite, passive. "But I am not alone. He is like my husband. And it's too expensive to have children. I am in my forties. It's too late to start raising children."
I am not offended. I can take for granted that it's just her culture ingrained into her way of thinking, and that, for her, not getting married is unthinkable. She has grown children of her own. Her Korean daughter has married a white man. I told her that they will have cute mixed babies that look like me.
She continues to ask why I'm not married, each time I come in to drop off or pick up clothes.
Finally, I just switched cleaners. I wonder if she's wondering, "Why you not come here no more?"