Saturday, March 01, 2008

Lack of Communication

I only speak English. I can count to 10 in German and almost to 5 in Polish or is it Hungarian, one of those, my grandmother taught me. So when someone from another country comes to the U.S. and can communicate with me in English, they got one up on me. But we as Americans find it funny when we hear broken English, we talk louder to a non-American thinking that we can break the language barrier by enunciating loudly and clearly. You know you've done it and you know it can be quite comical.
At the Dry Cleaners today, yes I'm going there, I picked up the husbands shirts. I had just been to the bank and had a fist full of twenties, a five and a couple ones. Not enough change to evenly dole out lunch money when I got home. The Asian woman that works there knows my last name. Very little conversation goes on between us each week, because beyond Hello, Thank you, 6 ah forty and have a good day, I don't think she says much else in English. She is always talking to the guy that works there or on the phone in whatever language she speaks, not sure. Her vocabulary increased for me today though, when I tried to pay for my 6 ah forty bill with a twenty. She looked in my wallet as she was giving me my change and said, "You pay with 7 dollah, I need change."
She tried to give me back my twenty. But.......
"I need change." She said, pointing to my wallet.
There's a bank right across the street.
I didn't know if I should have been scared of the guy lurking behind the shirt presser or not, but I needed lunch money, evenly distributed, for teenagers.
"I'm sorry." I said, "I need this."
"Okay, have a good day."
She definitely got her point across to me, much more than I could trying to speak in any other language. Next week I'll make sure I pay 6 ah forty with my 7 dollah.

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