It's funny how someone can piss you off so much without saying a word. Take for instance, my local egg waffle man.
A few weeks ago (yes, I hold a grudge), I was hoping to ask him if it'd be possible for him to make me some red egg waffles for my friend's moon-yuet party -- a traditional yet modern twist on those red eggs usually served at those parties.
I know it seems like an awkward request, but I deliberately chose a time when he had no customers to make my approach. Walking up with a friendly smile, I told him the story of how my friend, who had been in confinement for the past 30 days, would love nothing more than to have some yummy Hong Kong egg waffles at her party, and if it were at all possible, if he could just make a few egg waffles for me if I brought the red dye to him, perhaps before he opened shop one morning.
The egg waffle man, a skinny Chinese guy in his late 20s or early 30s who'd been staring at me with a dull facial expression, took a few seconds to process this and then ... shook his head.
"What do you mean?" I asked, hoping to find out why he couldn't do it. "I'll bring the red dye and I only need 1-2 waffles."
He shook his head once more with his jaw jutted out.
"I'll pay you double, no, triple for them, and I'll even clean the batter jugs for you afterwards!!"
Again, he shook his head with that 'yeung seui' expression on his face. Now, I was getting angry.
"What do you mean no? Can't you just tell me why? What's the reason you can't do it? Tell me so I can understand!" I sputtered at him in my crappy Cantonese.
Once again, he simply shook his head.
"Who's in charge here?!" I demanded to know.
And then, finally, the egg waffle man spoke. "I am."
At that, I did a complete 180 and left fuming, cursing the damn egg waffle man for not even trying to be helpful or at least having the courtesy to make up an excuse for why he wasn't going to help me.
I mean, it's not like I was trying to take over his stand! If he was worried about mess, or trouble, or anything like that, I would have understood (okay, I might have tried to convince him otherwise first) but still, to be shut out like that by someone who just won't even talk to you -- I just didn't get it!
Five steps later though, I finally got it. The dude's an EGG WAFFLE MAN. He only makes one thing, all day, every day in his life. He's not the rainbow egg waffle man, nor the chocolate chip waffle man, or god forbid, a fish ball man. He's a frickin' egg waffle man -- and that is all he shall EVER BE.
(But damn, does he make good egg waffles.)