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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Should I Feel Insulted?

At the teochew muay place down the road, I can get lunch for between $2 and $3.50.  It is $3.50 if I order a double portion of braised pork. Their steamed fish head is really good but once you order that, the bill balloons to $12.

I usually go for the $3.50 portion with double portion of braised pork because I need to be on a high protein diet.

For an unfathomable reason, the man serving the food made a remark that sent me to bed after lunch in tears. For the life of me, I cannot understand why any service provider would set out to insult a customer in such a personal way. So, I have decided that he was errr... trying to be friendly?

The fellow told me, "Why you always order double portion meat? 
Eat so much! Do you work or not? 
If you don't have a job, you should not order so much to eat."

That is very insulting, don't you think? 

I Do Work
I mean, I do work. Sort of. I work from home because my health often means that I am not fit to travel about nor even to meet people. I can mark student work in bed (or write curriculum in bed) but imagine facilitating a meeting from my bed. I mean, Steve Jobs did that but that's Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs bends reality. 

Currently, my work allows me to psyche myself up to appear normal on Saturday afternoon when the children come for class. Even then, on one occasion, I almost fainted on my own staircase. So, I need a job where people don't see me often. The strength of my online persona belies the frailty of my physical self.

But the fact still is that I do work. I have never really stopped working. Even as I homeschooled Smelly Boy in primary school, I taught part-time at either this or that university. Today, I make enough money to buy my own dresses, wallets and faux leather handbags without asking my husband to foot the bill. I make enough to pay staff well. Once in a while, I can afford to give money away to causes that I hold dear (like Thai elephants, mongrel dogs and Smelly Boy's school). Occasionally, I even take my husband out to dinner. I also pay for the online fish, meat and vegetables that I order for family meals.

So, it was a small matter to correct the ummm... Odious Male Chauvinist (OMC) serving me, that I do work.

Me: I do work.

OMC: Really? You're bluffing.

Me (interior monologue): What the @#$&@#?!
Me (aloud): No, really. I do work.

OMC: But you don't look like you work... you come here at 11.15am mostly (Good grief! The fella tracks my timing!) and companies don't have that sort of lunch hour.

Me: I have my own business. So, my time is flexible.

Still Insulted
Yet, I was mortally wounded in my heart. The OMC saw value only in my Paid Work. In one sentence, he completely negated the value of the UNPaid Work that I have been performing for 2 decades. Smelly Boy had no tuition. I taught him myself - 4 subjects. Shall we price that at $2000/mth? Crispy roast pork belly and ciabatta bread do not appear on the dining table by magic. How much are chefs paid? I steam clean the airconditioners every week. How much are aircon technicians paid for servicing? How about feasibility studies for investments? How much are analysts paid? 

I should be paid for all the above and more because...

... any stay at home mom reading this can add on to the list of tasks, small and big that are quietly taken care of. I am the Lee family in-house brownie (also called an ùruisg, a fairy creature that offers invisible help around a Scottish manor house). When I am around, milk appears by magic in the fridge. So too do créme brulées. Sometimes, a Baker Talent's butter boom materialises (just like that) in front of Smelly Boy, enveloped in a golden aura. That's me too. I heal wounds with a kiss. I mend broken hearts on my lap. I turn insomnia into sleepiness with just one hug. Dust bunnies flee at the sight of me. Indeed, an entire 3-storey house came into being by a single flourish of my magic wand. No dear... money alone is not enough to build a 3-storey house. Magic is also required.

I have not yet told you how I deal with illnesses like... 
(1) flus
You see, I merely twitch my nose and all these pathogens pack their bags and leave the host body. Sometimes, I give them a baleful stare and that is all it takes. It is magic! It requires no work at all! It requires no specialised knowledge nor skill (apart from knowing how to wave a wand). What do doctors pay themselves? A great deal apparently, if you look at the picture below. Perhaps I should charge $75 for each wave of my wand.

Forgotten and Disrespected
When a salary is banked into a bank account, it is a monthly testimony of what a person is worth. When your work attracts no salary, then you are worth nothing too. Anyway, after crying into my pillow and clawing deep and bloody lacerations on The Husband's exposed flesh, I am over it.

It reflects more on OMC than on me. I am who I am. I am worth more than the money I make. If people don't see that, God does.

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