Friday, February 03, 2006

Korean American Staff Lunch

I attended a luncheon hosted by the Embassy of Korea yesterday. I usually don't get invited to free lunches because lobbyists have figured out that staff on my Committee don't actually have any power. Darn.

I was invited to this luncheon soley because I'm Korean. I went because my friend Travis - who is also an adopted Korean from Minnesota - wanted me to. This is the second "asian thing" I've attended at Travis' request, and I honestly feel a little weird about it. I'm being invited to something not because of my position, my skills, or my friends - I'm being invited only because of how I look.

Travis sees it as a neworking opportunity - he's a much better networker than I am - but I wonder why I would want to network with people who have self-selected on a basis as flimsy as appearance. If you want to argue "heritage," then fine, I think you've got a point, but then I really have no business being invited.

Another reason I find these things creepy? They make me think about things like racial identity, which is something I typically don't spend much time on. I think the world would be a better place if no one thought about race again, ever, but that's probably a long way off.

Also, the people I meet at these functions expect me to speak Korean. They expect my last name is my married name. They ask point-blank if I'm adopted. That's weird, right? Do you usually attend lunches where the second question you're asked is whether on not you sprang from your mother's womb? Yeah, me either.

Maybe I just got stuck beside a particularly rude woman. Come to think of it, she was a total social dimwit. This was her exchange with Travis:
TSD: Are you full-Korean?
Trav: (casually) I'm not sure.
TSD: You're not sure? [I can't do the inflection justice. Imagine Travis had just said "Sometimes I like to eat babies."]
Trav: (stunned)
TSD: How can you not be sure?
Trav: (graciously) I'm adopted.
TSD: Oh. [again, the inflection. Imagine the previous line was, "Terrorists killed my dog."]


Oh, and she kept checking her crackberry. During lunch. I can't tell you how much I hate the rude blackberry user. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have a blackberry. I use it, but I consider myself a recreational user.)

The rude blackberry user is so ubiquitous on the Hill. Maybe it's because so many people are self-important. "Look how vital to the operation I am! My office has provided me with a special emailing device, so I'm never out of touch."

Dude, your boss knows you're replaceable. She knows you think she can't live without you, but she's just letting you believe that so she can continue to pay you slave wages. You're a sucker.

It's like during the anthrax scare, when everyone wanted to be on cipro to show how important their job was.

[Talk about timing! The office annunciator just went off. It was a only a test. How bad would I feel if during an actual emergency, I was making fun of cipro?]

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