I Am Sorry to Break You

That’s what our insurance representative, “Pineapple” Wang, here in China says to us in every email. She is generally requesting money for a household contents policy but it put me in a quandary about whether to ask her what the heck she means. Is she sorry to disturb me? Interrupt me? Or does she sincerely think the premium too high? I stopped signing my own name to the emails since she never addressed me, the signer, only Mr. Understanding. Today I finally asked her what that phrase means, using Mr. Understanding’s name. I got no reply, just a “thanks for your email”. Mystery unsolved.

This is a big question, to correct someone’s English or to let them persist in a faulty phrase. My rule of thumb has been to correct those who correct my Spanish/Portuguese/Mandarin. But sometimes I let it slide, like with V3, my driver. He always says, “You know my means?”. I thought I was the only one who had noticed it but a few months ago Bea Long said it to me and we both burst out giggling: it is V3’s verbal tic alone and I am loathe to correct him since I think it’s so cute. I am sure he laughs all the way home about something I’ve said, something like telling him to put the hand towel outside instead of the cat (both are mao’s). For this reason, I never said the word “comb’ in Spanish because it was too close to a certain word for the male anatomy. I would just make swooshing movements over my or my children’s hair.

Thing 2 was particularly vile to me earlier in the day and I was sorry I had to break him. I used some techniques not even my own mother employed with me. Not waterboarding exactly, but close enough. What is it about December that brings out bad behavior, the exact opposite of the joy the month is meant to engender? I have a lovely note of apology from him which I think I will frame and bring out every Christmas instead of putting coal in his stocking. I am a tough mother to have but still …

For those stuck in snow storms, maybe it is a blessing in disguise. You get to read my blog when the internet is not out! Joy of joys! The Children’s Story Book Party starts in 10 minutes so I must run. Can you guess who’ll be cleaning up? More tomorrow before we fake it at the Catholic church in the evening. God Bless.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “I Am Sorry to Break You

  1. Mood Ring Mama

    I hope you will continue to the quest to determine the meaning of “I am sorry to break you.” This cracks me up. Sorry about Thing 2’s vileness — I’m sure it’s just a phase . . .

  2. Expat:
    Maybe this is code for trying to break you of a habit or something .Maybe she (? he?) is like the angel in It’s A Wonderful Life, only a little more vague. Are you biting your nails? Dragging your feet? Forgetting to flush?

  3. Princess Ai Lin

    I just heard – 2nd hand – my favorite verbal misstep of all time yesterday! My friend (a whip- cracking, smack-talking working spouse) decided to save a different Ms. Wang from redundency in the HR department of the company they both work for. My friend liked Ms. Wang and decided to offer her a position as her personal assistant. During Ms. Wang’s official interview with said Friend, Ms. Wang asked, “Can I be very honest with you?” to which my VERY thick-skinned friend said, “Of course!” to which Ms. Wang said, “I am very happy to work for you because I think you can teach me many things. I would like you to teach me how to be a bitch like you.” !!!!!!!

  4. MCV

    PAL-that is the funniest thing I have heard in a long time. Did your friend correct the woman OR laugh in her face OR let her think it was a perfectly acceptable thing to say?

  5. susan

    Princess Ai lin, Still laughing…very funny.

  6. Mood Ring Mama

    PAL – I am laughing so hard right now I am shaking!!! Oh man, that is some funny stuff!

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