After years of wearing headphones, I sometimes don’t hear that well. My wife and daughters would probably say I have selective hearing… but I really notice it on the phone.
If the conditions are just right I don’t have any trouble at all. Add some road noise or other people talking in the same room and I might not understand you correctly if we talk on the phone.
That’s a little back story for today’s memory that surfaced earlier today as I took my oldest daughter to an appointment. We passed a Chinese restaurant. She pointed it out, mispronouncing the name as she did.
I corrected her and then went on to tell her this story. She thought it was funny and laughed so I thought I’d share it here, with you, too.
This particular Chinese restaurant is one I used to eat lunch at quite frequently some 20 years ago… before the radio stations I work at moved way out West.
The food was always great; big portions at a fair price. It’s a small place with maybe enough seating for 20. You’d barely be in the door when the owner would greet you with a friendly “hello”.
English didn’t appear to be his native language and the cheerful way he greeted you almost sounded sing-songy (If that makes any sense).
His accent and my trouble hearing on the phone led to a funny situation when I called one time to place a carry-out order. It was probably Mongolian beef or beef and broccoli… with egg drop soup, an egg roll, and a crab rangoon. They were my usual order.
The owner took down my order and asked me a question. “You want _______?”. I understood the first two words but was stumped on the last one. It was like I was talking to Charlie Brown’s teacher.
I asked him to repeat the question. He did and I still didn’t understand.
We must’ve went round and round a few times until in desperation he changed it up and said, “Fork and spoon! FORK and SPOON. You want UTENSILS!”
That time I got it! “Oh. Fork and spoon. Utensils. Sorry about that. Yes. Please include them with the order,” I said, feeling pretty dumb about our exchange. Utensils was the word I didn’t pick up on.
I had to laugh after hanging up because replaying the conversation in my head it sure sounded like he dropped an F bomb before the word spoon. “#&!! and spoon!” Once again, this was caused by my trouble hearing on the phone sometimes and his accent.
Sharing this story with my daughter made us both laugh… and made us hungry for Chinese carry-out. We’ll have to stop soon and see if the same owner is still there waiting to greet us at the door.