My parents are in California but they watch Fox Chicago every day, either on satellite or online. If I take a day off and they don’t see me on the air, they’ll call to make sure I’m okay. Otherwise, they expect me to call them at least every other day or so. It’s among the few opportunities I get to speak Chinese.
As I drive along the Kennedy Expressway, my mother’s on the line complaining about my father’s hearing. He’s lost all hearing in one ear and the other’s at just 2%… I think. Something’s getting lost in translation. My dad gets on the line to boast it’s 20%, not 2%, so he’s got 80% of good hearing in one ear! They proceed to bicker loudly about the amount of hearing loss – “The doctor said it was the amount left not the amount lost. You hear?”
My mom goes on about always having to answer the phone because he can’t hear it ringing. He simply refuses to wear a hearing aid. The patriarch often has the final say in many Chinese families.
It’s all like a “Seinfeld” episode. In Chinese. On mute.