I swung by my office for the first time in months, as I had another photoshoot for work. I had to pick up some more gear for the shoot later that afternoon – I gave myself 30 mins to get in, figure out my gear situation and the logistics of it all, and get back in time. Should be easy, right?
Out of the elevator, and I’m back between the narrow, cramped, yet empty hallways of our building. I turned the corner, walking towards my desk, and I’m greeted by an intent stare.
It’s just the cleaning lady. But her cart is sprawled across the middle of the hallway, and my cubicle is right behind her.
I started walking towards her and she only moves slightly to the side, still intently sizing me up. I said “Hi” as I twisted my body around her cart.
Whatever, that’s kind of weird.
I make it to my cubicle, set down my bag, and look for the equipment room key – but the key is gone. I glanced at my coworkers’ desks, but I didn’t want to rummage through their things. I start sorting through my own desk, flipping open the same cabinets five times because maybe I’m just blind and I missed it the other time. Are you sure Brian? Maybe it’s behind that thing.
Suddenly, the cleaning lady emerged, eyeing my nametag on the cubicle.
“Are you Vietnamese? You look Vietnamese. Are you Vietnamese?”
“Actually, I usually get every race but my own! I’m not Vietnamese, I’m Chinese.”
“Wow! Chinese! Really! You look Vietnamese! I see you and I think, oh he must be Vietnamese! I was wondering if you were Vietnamese!”
“Yeah I get a bit of everything else.” At this point, I’m facing away from her, rummaging through my desk again because I still can’t. find. that. key. and I only have 20 minutes left before I have to leave for that shoot.
I don’t think she really cares though; she’s bursting with excitement. She’s had to help her mask find its way back above her nose a couple of times, as she’s grilling me with questions.
“Are you single? You must have girlfriend. Are you single? How do you not have girlfriend?”
“Yes I’m single. Why am I single, I… don’t know? I’m picky?”
“You don’t have girlfriend? How do you not have girlfriend? You have good job *she nods towards my nametag on the cubicle wall*, you look like a good guy. You walked in and I knew you were a good guy. You don’t have a girlfriend?”
Mentally, I’ve finally accepted that the key isn’t at my desk, and I’m just going to have to find some way to properly balance my shots without a tripod. No big deal, I’ll figure it out when I get there.
Suddenly, she excitedly pulls out her phone, messing up the passcode a couple of times. She’s glancing down at her phone in her hand, quickly swiping left and right.
Oh my god.
“My niece told me to keep an eye out looking for good guys. She tell me to look for you! I see you walked in, and you have to add my niece on facebook now. You add her! Make sure you add her on facebook!”
“I don’t have facebook on my phone, but when I get home, I can.”
She assertively shows me her screen, excitedly pointing at her niece. The bio reads: VIETNAM.
She’s gesturing towards her phone with her chin, eyes in crescent moon shapes from her masked smile, she hasn’t stopped talking this entire time. I smiled back, took out my phone, and took a picture of her phone.
“Make sure you add her when you get home. Yeah, my niece tell me to keep an eye for good guys! You’re a good fit. How old are you? You look 28. Good fit! She’s 23. 28! 23! Good fit! Plus, she rich.”
Eventually, I was able to get away – the shoot still went well, and now I have this weird experience of being cornered in my cubicle by a Vietnamese auntie matchmaker.
I never ended up adding her. But one of these days, I’ll have to go back to the office, and when I do, I may have to face that Vietnamese auntie once again.