The waitress arrives with a pot of jasmine tea. She fills stoneware cups and pulls out a pen and pad to jot down our order. “Anything else to drink?” she asks. “Is the tea free?” Virat asks. Stunned, I look up from the menu. Who asks such a question? Is he cheap? How much can tea possibly cost? Visibly irritated, the waitress nods. “Then I’ll also have a pineapple juice,” Virat announces like he’s the first person to order a fruit drink.
Hhhmm, he seems a little wacky, which was not evident from his profile. I am debating if I should order an adult beverage (read: something consisting mostly of vodka) or a diet soda. I am beginning to fear that this will be a long and grueling night. Then again, what if he is simply nervous and will eventually chill the fuck out. So I give him a second chance.
I also decide to be “good” and order a Diet Coke with lime and return to reviewing the menu. Pad Thai, Pad See Ew, green curry, red curry, coconut curry. After Punjabi, Thai, along with Mexican, are my favorite cuisines. I grew up eating food spiced with coriander, chilies, cumin, turmeric, and paprika. My food doesn’t have to be five-alarm fire hot, but it must be a party for my taste buds. “I’m glad you don’t drink like all these Indian girls in America.” Ooo, so he did NOT ready my profile.
“The devout refrain from meat and alcohol. You should stay away from spices, too. The heat affects some people negatively,” Virat lectures as if he, the Indian, is an expert on American desi girls. “You don’t eat meat?” I ask. “No. Didn’t you read my profile?” Virat’s words are prickly. I don’t remember his profile saying he was Brahmin, which is why I then ask, “I thought only Brahmins refrained from meat and alcohol. Are you Brahmin?”
A storm flashes through his brown eyes. “I’ll have you know I’m quite pure in my habits. I don’t exercise because I eat well. I don’t waste money and time at the bars. Sodas, too, you do know Diet Cokes are unhealthy?” Yeah well Diet Coke, affectionately termed “Diva Cola”, is one of the reasons I get out of bed every morning, so he can bite me. To demonstrate my affinity for brown bubbles, I take giant gulps of soda and sublimate my rage towards him.
I cannot stand Indian immigrants who move to the US and think they are better than those of us who were born here. I realize Indian desis think American desis are snots, but I double-dog dare them to spend and survive the 1980s in places like Des Moines, Fargo, Minneapolis, or Pittsburgh. Our charmed lives were not lived without challenges (including but not limited to: growing up with hairy monkey arms, caterpillar moustaches, unibrows, sideburns that rival Captain Kangaroo, wearing home-made clothes, and having sketchy athletic ability). And if these cantankerous over-stuffed, over-educated Indian desis despise us and everything American, they can go back to where they came from. Silently I will the waitress to return and take our orders so I can get the hell out here.
To be cont.