Monday, March 19, 2012

Pish? Do you have any pish?

Taking my dad out to eat is always an adventure. Being from the provinces of the Philippines, I only imagine that "restaurant etiquette" would on the back burner of things to learn when in the midst of poverty.  Etiquette as in, the process of ordering food -the how, when you order drinks, when you order food - things that we "westernized" folk tend to take as a natural process, seems foreign to him. P

For instance,.. generally when going to a "sit down restaurant", you are shown to your seat, the waitress gives you a menu, tells you about the specials, and asks you about drinks and you order drinks if you know what you want. Then she will leave to give you time to look over the menu and comes back when you're ready.

With my dad... as soon as the waitress comes over to hand a menu and talk about specials he asks

"Pish, I want pish...ahh do you hab pish?

The waitress confusingly looks at him as he has just intervened on her practiced monologue and she struggles to remember whether she had been talking about the special or the wine. After taking a few seconds to gather her thoughts, She suggests the fish and chips or the fish burger.

My dad: Oh, is that good for my diabetes?

As if the waitress is supposed to be a licensed doctor or dietitian.

Waitress: uhmm... I don't know

My dad: Oh, do you put any salt in the pish? and do you hab wet bread (wheat bread). I cannot eat anyting dat will gib me high blood.

O.m.g, this is brutal I think. My dad ....  I cut him off to take control of the conversation.

 Me : We'll get waters and take a look at the menu before deciding

There is a look of relief on the face of our waitress as discovers she doesn't have to answer a question about diabetes. She leaves and I try to exasperatingly re-educate my father on the ordering process

Me: Dad!! You order drinks first... then you look over the menu to decide unless you already know what you want.. She doesn't know anything about your diebetes.

My dad: Oh - I'm just ahhsking da lady ip it is good por me...

(comes closer to me as if to share an inside joke)

but you know you daddy... he is a Filipino... sutimes he dusn't kno.

No kidding..

All my life with all all of my antics..

Why are you late?!? Why do you drive really slow after I get in the car when picking me up from school and stare at all the kids?!?! That's so embarrassing.  Why do you describe things in colors when your asking me stuff? I don't know what you're talking about when you say "the brown one".. what brown one!?! and ... why are you doing that motion with your hands around your eyes like that? oooh.. you want your glasses? I didn't know you knew sign language... 

.. ..that was always his response:

 Ahhh.. .. you know you're daddy. He is a Pilipino... 

But you know, it is what it is. My dad is a FOB... I mean, there's kind of FOB where they have an accent, but you can kind of understand what they're saying. and then there's the kind of FOB where the accent is so thick, you can't understand what they're saying so you kind of just have to laugh in the hopes that they said something funny. My dad is one of those that you just have to laugh at things that he says...

Anywho... they say you can't teach a old dog new tricks...and such is the case with my dad seeing as he's pushing 65 . Maybe it's my dad's generation and cultural upbringing, but I find that Filipinos his age who, though having migrated to the US, are less apt to change to American culture. So they can't speak straight English, they don't know the etiquette of ordering in a restaurant ((among other things)), but like I said, it is what it is.  I guess it's up to us 1st generation kids to order for them so the wait staff don't get exasperated. 

1 comment:

  1. It's not always about poverty. Your dad's way of ordering is how it's done in some places here in the Philippines. You can see it in the US too, where the waiter would talk to the diner and he would be asked for the house specials. Just a different way of doing things.