Mei: Hello, Jiang. I wish I could come to your house and we could have those chicken noodles that your mum makes. You know, the ones she makes when someone is ill – if they have a bad cold or something. And no, I'm not ill. I'm just a bit sad and missing home – and you, of course. I even miss your noisy little brother and his rude comments. And the dog, trying to eat the noodles from your bowl. No, really, I'm fine. I love my flat and my neighbours are nice but work is difficult.
Steve (boss): Hey, guys, good morning. (The men reply 'Hi', 'Hi, Steve', 'Morning', 'Hey, boss', etc.) Steve, can we have a word? Get the guys from your team together, would you? Let's talk round the table in the middle, five minutes.
Steve (programmer): OK, Steve. You heard him. Come on, get your stuff together. Mei?
Steve (programmer): Get your stuff together. Three minutes. Bring your laptop.
Mei: Of course. OK. I'm sorry. I thought he meant you and the others when he said 'guys', 'the guys from your team' – all of you men, not me. Am I a guy?
Steve (programmer): Are you a guy? Um, well no, you're not a guy – but you can be 'one of the guys', I suppose, can't you? Aren't you? Anyway, get your laptop. We'll talk about it later.
Steve (boss): OK, Steve. How's the work on the new travel app going?
Steve (programmer): Tony and Greg, would you guys – um, you two – like to answer that? You're doing the programming on the map …
Steve (boss): I thought it was Dave and Mikey – no? OK, no problem. And Mei? Is she not working on the travel app?
Steve (programmer): Not yet. Not on the programming. She'll be working on the design and development a bit later.
Steve (boss): OK. So, Tony and Greg – fill me in …
Mei: It's like that all the time. They don't talk to me in meetings – they just talk about me. And they haven't given me any programming to do yet. Not on any of the new apps we're working on. They want me to do some design work later, about how it looks and stuff. I think it's because I'm a woman. They think women are better at artistic things – making the app look pretty, I suppose. I was telling Robert ... Ah! I didn't tell you. I had a coffee with Milton and Robert yesterday – you remember, I talked about Robert, Milton's student, the one who wants to go to Brazil. He's really nice. I told them a bit about what things are like at work …
Robert: And how many women are there in the office?
Milton and Robert: Three!
Milton: And you said there are four men called Steve. That means there are more men called Steve in your office than there are women.
Robert: That's not good.
Mei: Well, no. It isn't good. I suppose it's funny – but it's true. And tell me – 'guys' means men, doesn't it? If you say 'the guys', you mean men, don't you? Not women.
Robert: Good question. I'm not sure.
Milton: But you can say 'Hi, guys' to a group of men and women – can't you?
Robert: Well, yes, people do all the time. But I think if I said 'the guys at work', I'd be talking about the men, not the women.
Mei: OK. So I'm not crazy. They talk about 'the guys' all the time. I don't like it. I feel like I don't exist.
Robert: So you should say something, Mei. If you don't like it, you should say something.
Mei: Oh, I don't know. It's difficult. Let's change the subject.
Robert: OK. Any news about your job, Milton? Game of Thrones?
Milton: Not yet, but let's all keep our fingers crossed. My mum would be so proud of me! Her little boy on the television.
Robert: Where does your mum live? Which part of Brazil?
Milton: No, no, she doesn't live in Brazil. She's Brazilian, of course, but she's married to an American – Henry – and she moved to the US with him. They live in Florida. And no, he isn't my father. My dad died a long time ago. She married Henry two years ago and he's a really nice man.
Robert: Have you been out to visit them?
Milton: No, not yet. They got married in Brazil, but now they want to have another wedding in Florida – and I guess I'll have to go to that.
Mei: Nice! I would love to go to Florida.
Milton: Well, perhaps you could come with me. I need to take a partner to the wedding. My mum's always … Wait a minute, I need to get this. It's the agency – about the job – the Game of Thrones thing … Hello?
Mei: So Robert thinks I should say something to my boss – tell him what I'm unhappy about. Oh, I don't know, Jiang. Don't say anything to Mum and Dad about it. I don't want them to know I'm not happy. Send me lots of news about you. Do think about coming over to see me – I really need a visit from home. Oh, and I forgot, Milton got an answer about the job on Game of Thrones … You'll never guess …