Saturday, March 21, 2009

I'm Right Here!

I went for my usual Saturday afternoon foot reflexology today. We've been doing this regularly so instead of finding it painful, its now very relaxing. The place is dimly lit, comfortably air conditioned and smells pleasant. I really look forward to this one hour of peace each week.

Unfortunately, today's session was anything but peaceful.

I had to get the one and only chatty therapist there. As soon as I had gotten her chatting with me under control, she started chatting with the guy in the next chair to me.

And if that wasn't bad enough, my therapist, the guy and his therapist and the lady on the other side of the guy were all eventually talking about me.

Now I know why we're (usually) taught that its rude to talk about other people. And also that its rude to speak in a language that others around us don't understand. And worst of all, to talk about another person, in the vicinity of that person, in a language that the person doesn't understand.

Okay, I get that everybody around here is going to be speaking Indonesian. I don't mind that at all but I think what happened today really crossed the line.

My understanding of Indonesian is pretty good, I just don't understand the Palembang dialect. Its similar to mainstream Indonesian but has a lot of other words mixed in.

So, as I'm sitting there, they would ask me the odd question, and then go back to their own conversation...

... She usually comes with her guy. He's probably getting a massage...

...laughter...


...She's Malaysian. Understands a bit of what we say but if we speak quickly, she won't catch it...

...laughter...

...How old to you think she is? Not more than 27. Nah, she looks over 30....

They finally ask me: How old are you, Mrs.? And I answer, truthfully, hoping to be included in their conversation so that I don't have to listen to, and understand, bits of what they are saying. Yet, they just go back to their rapid blabber in the Palembang dialect.

...Look, she just sits there, smiling. Thats all she can do I suppose...

...laughter...

...She looks too relaxed, put more pressure on her...

...Is her flesh flabby?... (C'mon!!!)

...laughter...

I was so glad when it was finally over. There is no point in being nasty so I said something friendly to those people when I left. I also told my therapist that I liked her style but I think I'll request not to get her next time. Or I'm just going to go to a different place.

7 comments:

Jean-Luc Picard said...

That was hardly a relaxing time.

Kaylen said...

This is so annoying! I would be shopping in a store in Korea and could understand very few words, but I knew they were talking about me when I am the only one in the clothing store and they are saying the word "fat."
Someimes on the way out, I would say in Korea, "yes, a pig" and they would be very quiet...

NomadicExpat said...

Should have pretended to call Richard on your mobile and tell him in Indonesian that they were talking about the mistress that he brings in on Sunday while you're at home napping. :-D That would have thrown them off. :-D

Mike said...

Time for a different shop. One with a little more class.

Bilbo said...

I've had that experience in Germany, where people assume that Americans don't speak any other languages. I used to enjoy listening to some stupid comment without reacting, then coming back in my best German with some "appropriate" comment...it was fun to watch the reactions.

vw: inielin - the cream you can apply to make your navel turn into an "outie."

Scott and Elaine said...

How rude! I hope you didn't tip them. However, good on you for being the better person and having more class than them. Being nice in this situation is not something most people would be able to do. Anyway, I would probably go somewhere else.

fiona said...

tsk tsk tsk.
you were so patient!
i'd have been so irritated n who knows what kind of fiona will turn out. an angry+broken indo language me = comical woman to the locals