That’s what the guy called me.
I couldn’t believe it.
I’d been politely saying “excuse me” over and over again, waiting at a paella stall at Borough Market, desperately trying to get a takeaway meal that I could rush off with because I was late.
I had managed to get the attention of a waitress and then a waiter, but both said I needed to wait for the ‘chef’ to put the paella in a box for me.
The chef was standing right in front of me, holding a plate of food, hollering for someone to take it away, and not looking at me. He’s the one I’d been saying “excuse me” to.
Eventually he dumps the plate on the counter, and goes to get a box.
“I heard you,” he said. He looks at me, eyebrows raised.
“But you decided to ignore me??” I was incredulous. Why didn’t he acknowledge my frantic squeaks? Just a nod or a “I’ll be with you in a sec” would have been totally fine.
“Excuse me! Excuse me!” he chimed. “You’re an Asian girl with a British attitude.”
What did he mean? I was completely taken aback.
“Excuse me! Excuse me!“
So now I know he meant it as a bad thing.
“What’s a British attitude?” I asked, bristling.
“Excuse me! Excuse me!” He spooned paella into a box.
“What’s the right attitude?” I demanded, a little louder. “What should I have done?? Click my fingers and say ‘service!’?”
“If you were in Europe, you would have hit me over the head with a bottle”, he laughed, not good-humouredly. I stared. Was he being nice or horrid? His general tone was derisive. I got the feeling it was the latter. The way he said “excuse me excuse me” made it sound like he thought I was pathetic and childish. Was I? Is that what a British attitude was?
“For your ‘excuse me excuse me’, you can have this.” He put a bit of chorizo on the box of food. So now he’s being nice?!
I still don’t understand what’s just happened.
I was so cross I could barely eat the food.
He’s right. I am an Asian girl with a British attitude. So what?