July 20, 2012

Mistaken Identity

The menfolk of India, China, and South Korea share an ability to look nondescript and unexceptional. Their habit of wearing dark dress pants and white dress shirts does not help in distinguishing staff from customer at public establishments. This issue has caused me great embarrassment on many an occasion, and my victims an equal amount of humiliation.

In Bangalore, I once asked a patron at a hazy bar for the bill. He gave me a dirty look through bloodshot eyes. In a Beijing restaurant, a man I presumed to be the server poured a bowl of soup. Once he was finished, I reached over to take it from him. He backed away defensively and told me that it was self service. In Seoul, I gave my ticket to the usher for checking. The man was merely standing to the side of the entrance, patiently waiting for his girlfriend to bring some popcorn.


"Human identity is the most fragile thing that we have, and it's often only found in moments of truth." ~ Alan Rudolph