Monday, September 03, 2007

Did you use the rug as a dustpan?

First of all I just need to clarify my intentions. I'm not writing this post because I think somehow that I'll get back at my wife. And I'm not making fun of her.

Earlier today I saw Rosi sweep all of the dust and hair and dirt out of our room straight onto a rug (the rug is on the other side of the riser that divides the bedroom from the living room hall). She then took the rug and banged it on the outside wall in the apartment hallway to rid it of the dust.

I was surprised and my immediate reaction was to get pretty angry! I told her that we had a dustpan and that dustpans are what I usually use to catch the dirt and dust from a room. Then of course we had an argument.

Somehow in the course of events the question was asked or emphatically denied (I forget which one happened first):

"Did you use the rug as a dustpan?"

The answer that Rosi gave me was "No."

Naturally, this drove me to distraction because to my mind there is absolutely no question whatsoever that she did indeed use the rug as if it were a dustpan.

Also, during the course of the discussion I got her to promise not to use the rug as a dustpan again.

I think at the root of our fight was a simple language problem. Filipino English doesn't make use of our past tense very effectively and in most cases Filipinos don't use past tense in the proper way.

So, I think that when the question arouse:

"Did you use the rug as a dustpan?"

was asked, she understood it to mean "Will you use the rug as a dustpan?" and so she answered "No" thinking this would appease me. Instead I became even more enraged thus giving her a headache.

When I realized it was probably a simple communication problem I wanted to discuss it with her but of course she was too angry that I would start a big fight over something so trivial.

It seems to me that this is the stuff of a relationship. We also fought recently over rice. Whenever I have seen a Filipino family making rice they always burn the bottom 2 to 3 cm of rice in the pot so that it is dark brown or even black. I assume that this is done because it's difficult to afford a decent rice pot and also because it is hard to control the heat of a fire but I see Rosi doing the same thing with the expensive Korean rice and that drives me crazy because I know that it is possible to cook rice here without burning it.

First of all I guess I should mention that the absolute best price for plain old white rice in Korea is about 2000 won (approximate US$2.10 )! Considering how expensive the stuff is I figure people should treat it like it's gold. I most certainly would not be happy with throwing one sixth or even one tenth of that rice in the garbage and yet I have seen poor Filipino families do just that everyday!

Naturally, when I see heaps of overcooked rice in the garbage I get pissed off and start an argument with Rosi. Not only did I grow up to value food and to try to avoid as much waste as possible I also developed a sense for avoiding waste whenever I can. After all, if I don't throw my money in the garbage I can put it into the bank.

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