A few years back, my girlfriend Polly P and I stopped for lunch on our way home from collecting guests from the airport for my 50th birthday. My older sister flew in from Vermont. My younger sister, daughter No. 1 and one of my sisters-in-law flew in from Massachusetts. Daughter No. 2 flew in from Texas. They were all starving.
We stopped at a local Chinese food restaurant and even though it was still fairly early in the day, we were ready to have a glass of wine. (Luckily for us, this Chinese restaurant had a fairly decent selection!)
Polly P, who apparently had some sort of image to uphold, talked the bar tender into delivering our wine in coffee mugs. All the business men streaming into the restaurant were none the wiser.
I’m sure our conversations ran the gamut and most likely we never completed one thought between the seven of us. The food was delish and we shared our plates as well as what was going on in our lives. Polly P ordered another round and more coffee mugs were delivered to the table.
At the end of the meal we passed out the fortune cookies. Daughter No. 1 read the back of her fortune.
"‘LEARN CHINESE- Drunk, Tipsy.’" Then she explained that the next line had a Chinese symbol and and the Chinese word, "‘Zoo-EE.’” She sounded more Southern than Chinese.
My older sister went next, “Too-ee SHEE-you...it means to retire.” We giggled as we tried to count all of her teeth when she emphasized “SHEE.”
Next my sister-in-law, “Air you-AY...February.” She said it as perfectly as any third grade teacher would.
My turn came up. I flipped my fortune over and read in my most Chinese accent, “Toe-tahs-TAY.”
My daughter immediately grabbed the fortune out of my hand and said, ‘No Mom...that’s the english...To Taste.”
All seven of us doubled over and busted out in loud laughter. My younger sister ran to the bathroom. The game was up on the coffee mugs, now. People knew, if they hadn't guessed prior, that there was more than just coffee in those mugs.
My girls have never let me forget that. Whenever they imply that they don’t understand what I’m saying or if they plan on just ignoring me, they respond with, “Toe tahs-TAY?”
Kyle Ann Robertson
Chief Writing Officer at Ifcorkscouldtalk.com and BBWalsh.com