Friday, November 26, 2010

Questions I Am Tired of Being Asked: 4th ed. How did you start playing the harp?

This is not an interesting story people, but I suppose I get asked so often because the harp is a less common instrument. I mean, I don't think I've ever asked anyone how they started playing the piano. That could just be because I'm incredibly self-centered though.

Hey it's me! OR it's a picture of a stranger I took from a stock photo website. We'll never know.

See that woman on the left side of the picture my mom failed to include in the photo? That's my harp teacher, and my mom met her at a wedding reception she was playing at. When she took a break, my mom started chatting with her and asked if she gave lessons and if I could come try it out. I had never expressed any actual interest in picking up the harp, but that didn't stop my mom from setting up my first lesson, and the rest is history. She wanted a child who played the harp, and I had no objection to learning. I mean, why wouldn't you want to play the harp?

Ok, THAT one's definitely me. I was 17 and still had that ugly mole that I later got remo... um, wait! No, this a stock photo too!

At the same time, I never applied myself as hard as I could during those high school years of weekly lessons due to my crippling laziness. I enjoyed playing the harp very much and still do, but I was definitely more excited about getting my driver's license than becoming accomplished at a beautiful and unique instrument. Typical teenage ingrate. If I ever have kids, I'm shipping them off to an isolated farm during their teenage years.

Questions I Am Tired of Being Asked: 3rd ed. What ethnicity are you?

Or any other variation of that question. (Hint: I'm white.)
I wouldn't be tired of hearing this question if people didn't ask it so awkwardly. I think they are worried they'll offend me or be politically incorrect if they straight up ask me what race or ethnicity I am. Instead, people come up with really roundabout ways of asking me this, i.e.

Why are you so exotic looking?
Your eyes look so Asian!
What is your genealogical background/ancestry/gene pool/etc...

(Side note: Is it un-P.C. to directly ask someone what race/ethnicity they are? I would not be offended, but one girl I worked with years ago who was half black got really mad at me when I commented that I couldn't tell what ethnicity a certain customer was. Oh, and then she wouldn't tell me why she was mad, so I remain puzzled.)
Egyptian has been a common guess, along with Asian, but I'm about 99% Caucasian. Exciting, no? I do have a Native American greatgreatgreatgreat (more greats?) grandmother on my Father's side, as do many Caucasian Americans. Her name was Running Deer and she was Mohawk.

an authentic depiction of my Grandma and Grandpa on their first date

However, I have a hard time believing whatever exotic qualities people see in me can be attributed to that tiny fraction of my genetics, so the original question goes unanswered. We can speculate that my mom fooled around with the postman, but he was white too so I don't know where that leaves us.