One of the things that foreigners and other “outsiders” complain about when they come to California is the excessive political correctness of the locals. Meaningless smiles, weather talk, saying “I have to let you go” and “What are you doing later today?” instead of “I have to go?” are some typical examples of beating around the bush that you encounter every day.
I like how artfully people avoid the risk of appearing racist, due to their pathological fear of being perceived as such. This morning, I and my friend, who has a distinct Indian accent, went into one of the cafes in the Marina. As we were ordering coffee, the white barista had a hard time understanding what he wanted to order. After struggling for a few seconds and finally figuring out what he was saying, she quickly saved herself by saying that she had a really bad hearing.
As we were leaving, we were laughing, as we knew that her alleged hearing issues were a bunch of bs, but it was a good way for her to handle it. I think I have heard the bad hearing excuse myself in reference to my own accent before at least once or twice, so I suppose it’s nothing new.