friday afternoon taro bubble tea.


on some fridays, the boss lady decides that we should meet to catch up on whatever. sometimes, i don't have anything work-related to talk about, and i let her know this. "it doesn't matter," she'll say. she just likes leaving the office, since her office doesn't have a window. i like leaving the office, too, so i agree. we go to chatterbox, a little bubble tea place, and we each order a taro (japanese root) bubble tea. it's okay. it's not my favorite drink in the world, but it's better than drinking nothing while sitting at my desk.

she went into this whole thing about how her husband doesn't have many guy friends. and when he's with the few guy friends he has, he doesn't act like himself around them. "what do you mean?" i asked. "he'll just always be so jokey with them. like they can't have a real conversation about anything." "can you give an example?" i asked. "well, sometimes, he'll just be talking to his friend, and his friend will ask, 'how's work going?' and he'll be like, 'oh, it's great. wonderful. i love it.' they can't seem to ever talk seriously with each other." "so," i said, "they're just always sarcastic and stuff?" "yeah," she said, "total sarcasm."

i admitted to her that that was how guys work. "that's sort of how it is with my guy friends," i said, "and my cousins who are guys. we'll quote movies and have a lot of inside jokes." "yeah, what is that?" she said, obviously frustrated. "this one time, my husband and i took a road trip with one of his good friends, and they were just talking complete nonsense the whole time. after we dropped his friend off, he asked me, 'are you okay? you were so quiet back there.' i told him, 'i had no idea what the hell you guys were talking about! how could i join the discussion when i couldn't even understand what the hell you were saying?' he got kind of defensive, and he was like, 'what are you talking about?'"

my boss is indian, and she told me about how she moved to india when she was in her mid-twenties. "i just remember there was one night, it was like in june, i woke up drenched in sweat. it was seriously too hot to sleep, and the power went out, so there was no air-conditioning or even a fan. the girl i was living with told me that we should go up to the roof, where it would be cooler. we went up there, and it wasn't that much cooler, but still, we could at least put our faces to the marble and cool down a little bit that way. this was in the middle of the night, and she had an exam in like three hours that morning.

"i asked her, 'how the hell do you do this?' and she was like, 'do what?' and i said, 'study and go to school without electricity or any sort of physical comfort?' she just laughed at me. i must've looked like such a spoiled american, because she just shrugged and said, 'we do this all the time.' and she was serious. the power went out at least six or seven times a week when i was there. it was crazy. and i thought about how, just the year before that, i was at n.y.u., typing papers in the privacy of my dorm room. i could turn on the heat when i was cold, and turn on the a.c. when it was hot. so many things we take for granted."

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