I know what you’re thinking, how can she type if she has webbed toes like an otter. Well I mean it figuratively and not literally. Which is to say I am not an egg-laying, venous duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal.
The two things I share with the platypus is one, being a mammal and two eliciting the question, what is that. Actually to be more specific this phenomena occurs:
- When spotted by another Asian a quizzical look comes across their face (I’ve seen this look many a time) as they try and figure out the puzzle.
- Eventually they approach, some may ask an inane question in the guise of starting a conversation, while others take a more direct approach and inquire, “Where are you from?” or “What are you?”
Now most of my non-Asian friends find this strange, but having been probed like this for so long, I’ve come to expect it and I am prepared for it. Because you see I am what the Hawaiians call Happa (a japanese term meaning half-and-half), but I’m not really a half-and-half split, more of a cornucopia of races just walking around in one little person. Mostly I’m Chinese with a splash of South American and I have a generic Asian look about me. When folks see me they think they know me or someone who looks like me. I think the big eyes and the olive undertones confuse people, I can see it on their faces. As the wheels in their heads stop turning and a smile comes to their faces they then think I have the answer and approach. And trust me, they never have the answer. I’m always left with this awkward conversation as to my heritage. Mind you these people are total strangers, so it can be incredibly uncomfortable. I think as I’ve gotten older, they tend to be more intimidated to just come up and ask me. Which is one good thing about being a grown up, but more likely they start a conversation and ask, so it still happens.
I think when I was a kid it used to frustrate me, but now I am so used to it that it doesn’t matter much. I understand that it’s part of the culture to try and identify your background in that manner. From my experiences I have come to the conclusion that in my own way I am a platypus, that is to say a confusing little critter, but I’m good with that and I finally have a sense of humor about it all. So I leave you with this final song about myself and well my friend the platypus, watch out it gets into your head.