In college, I worked in an office with an eccentric older woman. She had a PhD in Chinese history, her office was full of trinkets from around the world, and she spoke with a melodramatic flair, extending vowels and silences longer than necessary. She wasn’t my favorite person in the office, but our working relationship was passable.
I was sitting in the common area one day, leafing through a magazine, when she wandered over me and started telling me about a phone call she’d just ended with the parent of a student. The parent was Asian and overinvolved, apparently, and she told me about all the ridiculous, unreasonable things the parent had said and the cunning responses she had delivered — these Asian helicopter parents, she lamented. And she told me about the gift she had received from another such parent, a hideously tacky Minnie Mouse telephone, and she laughed and wasn’t it hilarious how tasteless this gift was.