Fortune Cookie

fortune cookie

One of the more ambiguous conversations I’ve had with a waiter.

Me: It was lovely but I just couldn’t finish it. Just the bill please.
Waiter (in an extremely thick Chinese accent): Are you travelling?
Me: (slightly surprised, but hey go with the flow) Yes I’m here for work.
Waiter: Are you a job seeker? (pronounced “seekerer”)
Me: (unsure if I’ve either misunderstood the words used or what he means by them) Erm… I’m here to do work. We have an office here.
Waiter: So you are not seeking work?
Me: No…I probably wouldn’t be here eating a delicious but expensive Chinese meal if I were looking for work.
Waiter: I am a job seeker.
Pause during which he looks at me expectantly and I look back even more unsure if I’ve grasped this conversation.
Me: But you work… You’re a waiter (I add helpfully).
Waiter: But that is only to pay the bills. So I am a job seeker. Like you.
Me: (Getting scared) I really have to go, can I please have the bill?

I’m still not convinced that either of us fully understood what the other was saying here. But it seems to me enigmatic enough to bear many interpretations, as fortunes are wont to be. Am I seeking something, beyond the usual cornerstones of home, food, love and work? Aren’t we all? Does it show so clearly in me that this man couldn’t help but comment?

We’ll never know because I ran all the way back to my room. As men are wont to do from fortune-tellers.