“I don’t understand why Democrats are so happy? I mean the election is so close even if there’s a pandemic and there’s a big unemployment number. Four years later, I bet it’s going to be Republican again. Probably somebody more extreme.” Lu said.
Armei and Pammy paused their conversation and looked at Lu in silence. The two are not interested in politics. Pammy especially not. She could hardly understand the different viewpoints between her husband Pan, a Republican voter if he ever takes the trouble to vote, and Lu, who’s decidedly liberal. Armei, on the other hand, is quick and clever. She is not reading much, not following the news much, but she has life experiences, common sense, and perceptive insights about human nature.
“I don’t know much about the European history before the WWII, but I know it is tumultuous, partisan, and polarized. I want to read something about it, especially the battle between the capitalists, socialists, royalists, anarchists. Spanish history or German history will be interesting.” Lu said.
Armei and Pammy looked at Lu in despair. Lu likes to say whatever comes to her mind without any consideration for her environment or her audience. It’s like Armei trying to sell anti-wrinkle cream to a 20-year-old, or Pammy giving a mortgage quote to a teenager.
Not hearing anything from her companions, Lu went on, “The world is heading towards a troubling unstable time now. I tell you we, Asian immigrants, will suffer from extreme politics more than others. We are like the Jews of Europe.”
“Oh, shut up, will you?” Armei said, “I am sure you are exaggerating. It’s not as bad as that.”
“We just went through diversity and harassment training. This world is getting better. I have to tell you.” Pammy said innocently and emphatically.
“Don’t worry, Pammy. When I talk about poor immigrants, I am not talking about your husband or your family. I mean he works in Wall Street and he votes Republican. He holds passports from 3 countries of 3 continents. Whenever there’s a turmoil in any place, you are the first to flee.” Lu said.
Pammy’s husband Pan grew up in a merchant family of Northern Vietnam, which encouraged him to pick up English, French, Cantonese. When he went to Singapore for college on scholarship, he was required to take a second foreign language course. Just out of a whim, he chose Spanish and ended up learning Spanish by reading a dual language book and watching Spanish videos online. When he graduated and worked in Singapore, he got Singapore passport. Then he was sent to South America to work for several years, where he received another passport, before coming to the U.S.
Lu had no social tactic and Pammy suddenly found herself under attack. “Stop making fun of my husband. I have to tell you, Lu, that you can never predict anything. You can’t predict your husband, you can’t predict the kids you are teaching, you can’t even predict what your career is going to be. You are a very bad predictor, I am afraid. Now when you say the world is heading towards chaos and immigrants are going to have a bad time, I am just not convinced. So far all your predictions are wrong.”
“What are you saying? I think I’m a great predictor.” Lu said, puzzled. She’s very confident that she’s right.
“You have to admit you are too bookish. Most of the things you say are too unrelated with the reality and all those things you do are … What can I say…” Armei said.
“Excuse me? What are you talking about?” Lu was puzzled. “Is this about my choice of anthropology again? You think my choice is ridiculous? You just don’t understand me.”
They continue to argue for hours.