There are times when I can't tell if something I did was genuinely stupid or a reasonable mistake. I don't know if the pain and humiliation I suffered in a given situation qualifies as moron tax, bad luck, or just life. In these cases, I will leave it to you, my dear readers, to decide as my jury. Tell me if you think the scenario I describe to you is a case of moron tax. Let me know your thoughts on where I went wrong, how I went wrong, and how badly I went wrong.
A few years ago I had a boyfriend of another ethnicity. His mother was visiting from out of town, so I volunteered to take him and his mother out to dinner. I was anxious to make a good appearance as I had been dating my boyfriend for quite a while and he had repeatedly emphasized to me the importance of her good opinion. My boyfriend agreed to have us meet and prepared me by saying only that his mother did not speak English well.
I picked the restaurant, made reservations, dressed up, and met my boyfriend and his mother there. My boyfriend cheerfully greeted me, but his mother remained silent and appeared to look away. We went to the table, and I sat next to his mother. I tried to strike up conversation with her. She stared blankly at me, then turned her head without answer. When the food came, I tried to pass her food or serve her portions, but she did not respond. My boyfriend, in the meantime, chirped on in a happy, unconcerned way. When the dinner ended, I paid, and we parted.
Later that week, I went on another dinner with my boyfriend and his mother. Again, my boyfriend talked happily with me while his mother sat in almost unbroken silence. When dinner ended and we were ready to part, I wished them goodnight. My boyfriend's mother stood there with her head turned from me, and my boyfriend said something curtly to her (not in English). She looked at me, and I could really see, for the first time, hate pouring like lava from her eyes. She then said quietly, with protest dragging on each syllable, "Good night." At that moment, I finally got what that woman was trying to tell me this whole time: she loathed me. She loathed me because I was of another ethnicity and dating her very precious son.
I can't help but think there is some moron tax inherent to the situation here. I requested, prepared for, looked forward to, sat through, and paid for a dinner with someone who actively wished that an errant missile might hit my apartment and kill me. Also, it took TWO dinners of hissing silence from this woman for me to get the message. Finally, there is some real humiliation in the fact I tried to suck up to a woman who not only hated me, but whose hate was unjust.
What do you think? Is there moron tax here?
Is this who I think it is? Have I met ths person?ReplyDelete
Yes, you've met him. Of course, you've met nearly all my boyfriends so I don't know if that really narrows it down. However, I suspect you know who it is anyway.ReplyDelete
I like that he chirped happily--you were flying first class with that guy! I'm not sure the moron tax applies to the crazy mom. That's a tort. (I like your legalese!)ReplyDelete
The fault, dear, is in the guy. He sent you into hostile territory with absolutely no warning and the you footed the bill. Then he reduces you to watching as he speaks curtly to a potential mom-in-law in another language. He could have made that situation better on a lot of levels. File under bad beau tax.
Very good point! Bad beau tax...that could be the subject of its own blog.ReplyDelete
I just can't believe how thick-headed I was about it all -- I think anyone observing the scene would have immediately understood what was going on. Meanwhile, I'm dressed up and smiling at her like an idiot.