I avoid dealing with large organizations whenever possible, and that is because I am not Chinese.
Somewhere, somehow, some nutjob in the Cincinnati medical community put a note in my file years ago that my preferred language is “Chinese (Mandarin).” While that doesn’t seem like a big deal, it’s a never-ending source of inanity when I go in for a medical test and they hand me forms so they can hire a Chinese translator to be present during the procedure.
This has been going on for years. No matter how many times they delete the reference to Chinese, it keeps resurfacing, even after we switched health insurers.
Exhibit 2: A certain percentage of the times that I fly, I am questioned about why my name on my passport doesn’t match the name on the passenger manifest.
Here’s why the names don’t match: Some computers only allow you to enter 10 characters for your first name. “Christopher” is 11 characters. “Christophe” is 10 letters and is the French version of my given name. Que the cavity search.
So I’m French. Or Chinese.
After many years as passing for an English speaker, I ran into the Chinese problem again today while scheduling a medical test. After going through the whole “you don’t sound Chinese” conversation, she asked me if this test was related to a worker’s compensation claim.
“Yup,” I said. “I was in a rickshaw accident.”
I’ve filed this entry under “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.”
— Christopher Schwarz