Many people have thought that they are my mother. My boss tells me when to go to the doctor. The super down the block tries to send me off every day with a smile on my face. They aren’t the first, and they won’t be the last. But the only one who reminds me of my mom is the woman who runs my dry cleaner shop. A bustling and effective South Korean woman, the same size as my mom, my dry cleaner is always happy to see me and loves to chat. She clearly loves me, but if you might not know that if you heard us talk. Thankfully, I too say things with the assumption that my undying affection is a given, so we understand each other perfectly.
What She Says: Your coat is yellow! Like chicken feet!
Sounds Like: Your coat looks like it spends the day in the dirt.
Actual Meaning: Your coat is adorable and bright!
What She Says: You had your hair up last time? Looks better down.
Sounds Like: You look bad with your hair up; don’t do that.
Actual Meaning: You look cute today!
What She Says: You bring this in last June?
Sounds Like: You smell bad.
Actual Meaning: It’s been too long since we’ve seen you.
What She Says: Your buttons – too loose! Don’t want to lose.
Sounds Like: You don’t take care of your clothing.
Actual Meaning: I sewed in your buttons because they would be hard to replace, and I don’t trust my subcontractor to be as careful as I am.
What She Says: You have cash? Credit card has bank fee.
Sounds Like: Why are you oppressing small family-owned businesses, you out of touch plutocrat?
Actual Meaning: Help a sister out, like I know you want to.
And the reason I went to the dry cleaner’s? My mom took one look at my coat, and asked if I had a dry cleaner. Because, like my dry cleaner, she loves me and wants to make sure I put my best foot forward. If your mom isn’t here to do the same for you, head over to Sunrise Cleaners at 59 Nassau Street, and you’ll find someone who can help you out.