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Old-Fashioned Views MAG
"Good morning, Grandma and Grandpa!"
After pretending to be excited to seemy grandparents, I took a seat next to my cousin. It was Sunday morning, and mywhole family had come together for conversation and dim sum. I hate dim sum.Growing up Chinese, I've eaten this meal as often as cows eat grass, and it alltastes the same. It's just beef or shrimp in boiled dough. You need to put sauceon everything if you want it to have any taste. But I didn't come for the food, Icame out of respect for my relatives. I may not enjoy their customs, but they arefamily.
"What's up?" asked Ping, my cousin. We're both seniorsnow, and the two of us had a million other places we'd rather be. We alwaysdistracted each other.
"Not much, man," I replied. "How islife according to Ping?"
"Good, good. I have nothing to complainabout. I dumped my girlfriend. She was always dragging me down, whining all thetime. I had to cut her loose. Didn't you say you have agirlfriend?"
"Yeah, actually, I do. I met her a couple weeks agoat my friend's party. We talked that whole night, it was great. We hung out everyday that week, and eventually confessed how much we liked each other. She's likea balloon, always pulling me up."
"Cool. Do I know her? What'sher name?"
"I don't think you know her. She goes to my school,her name is Amanda. I have a picture of us in my wallet."
"Let me see. She has to have some deformity if she is going out withyou."
"Just kidding, hand over thepicture," Ping said with a smile as he snatched my wallet from me. As helooked at the photograph, his smile fell flat. Ping clapped my wallet shut andshoved it back at me.
"What?" I asked,confused.
"Typical," Ping responded.
"What'stypical?" I asked, my eyebrows raised.
"It's typical you'd likea white girl. You're such a Twinkie. You have really crossed over these lastcouple of years. You don't even have any Asian friends in yourpictures."
"Yeah, I do."
"You have one of yoursister. That's it. I saw Amanda, and guys from your rugby team, but not one ofthem is Asian. You know, you're pretty pathetic. You can't even speakMandarin."
"You're not fluent, either."
"Well,at least I can have a conversation with our grandparents. They make fun of youall the time because of this. You should come out with my friends. I'm leavingsoon to go hang out with them. They will help you remember where you camefrom."
"Ping, I was born in Boston. So were you. I live inWayland, and that's where my friends live. I don't care where they're originallyfrom; they're the kids I grew up with."
"Well, you grew up withme, too. I know what is right for you. I am getting out of here, and you shouldjoin me. I'll wait at the corner, and if you're not there in ten minutes, I'llknow where you stand. If you want to live your life as a banana, go ahead, butyou're only making a fool of yourself. You are yellow on the outside. You can'tchange that no matter how hard you try."
Ping said good-bye to thefamily and took off. He had gone off on rants like this before, but I usuallyblew it off. I know who I am, and don't have to prove who I am to anyone. Pingjust has old-fashioned views.
"Mom, can I borrow your cellphone?" I asked. "I need to call Amanda. She's coming to pick me up in15 minutes."
Names have been changed to tell this tale ofthe author's friend.