I used to describe myself as “good at thinking on my feet”, but not so much anymore. Now more often, I find myself frozen, mouth slightly agape when…
… My neighbor girl sees me cooking eggs and tells me how her daddy said that “people who eat eggs all of the time have a lot of stomach pain”. Do I…
(1) Tell her my stomach feels rather happy after eating an omelet thereby contradicting her father? OR
(2) do I let it pass and let her continue believing her family’s superstition?
… Like while enjoying my ice cream cone with another American friend and the two guys behind the counter begin discussing whether or not we’re available. Or the two women across from me talking about “these foreigners” always coming to the city and causing trouble. These people all clearly believe there’s no way I’m understand them. Do I…
(1) Let on that I know exactly what they’re talking about and don’t like it.
(2) Casually join their conversation, like, “Oh, I know and those foreigners don’t even speak Hindi!
(3) Play dumb.
… “Shush!” warns my friend when I begin telling a Bible story while eating. “You can’t talk about God while your fingers and mouth are dirty!” she cries. “Oh,” I say, pausing with rice and veggies halfway to my mouth, “but Jesus doesn’t care about that. He only cares about what our hearts look like.” She shakes her head and points to the idols sitting on a shelf above our heads, “Well, he may not care – but they’re watching you right now.” Do I…
(1) get into a long (and rather ineffectual) discussion with her about the nature of God and thereby miss a chance to tell a story about Jesus? OR
(2) finish eating and then tell my story?
… Cooking with a friend, I begin chopping onions. I’m slicing the knife downward through the onion into the cutting board. “Stop! Stop!” she cries. “You’re going to cut your fingers off!” She then proceeds to show me the right way to cut an onion – holding the onion in your hand, drawing the knife through the onion towards your thumb. Do I…
(1) nod my head obediently, relieved I will no longer slice through my fingers? OR
(2) tell her I’ve been cutting onions my way since I started cutting onions and then display my unmarred fingers?
… At a winter get-together in my house with the neighbors, some of the kids are getting seconds on various colas available, when one little girl asks for water instead. I begin pouring her a glass when a frantic mother shouts out my name. “Sarah! Don’t give the children water! Its winter! It’s cold! If they drink water they’ll get a fever. Give them more soda instead. And no more of that fruit – give them some chips instead.” Then, as an aside to another mother, “These children are going to get sick.” Seriously? I think. Do I…
(1) turn this little get-together into a lecture about health, vitamins and how no one gets a fever from clean water and fruit in winter? OR
(2) smile, let it pass and pour out more soda? OR
(3) slip the kids water and more fruit when their moms go back to talking?
Well, what would you do? What do you think I did?