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Speaking the same language, kind of.   —   A New York Moment

There's an Indian woman that runs the Snack Shop located in the lobby of my office building. She's extremely nice and so far her recommendations for a tasty juice or candy bar have always been excellent when I'm standing there undecided. But for the life of me I can't understand but three or four words of her english at any given time. Her accent is SO thick. She's friendly, always happy to see me, asks where I've been if I don't come in for a few days, and she just loves to chat to me about ... well I'm not really sure what it's about. I just listen intently to her tone and watch for facial expressions that might tell me how I'm supposed to react. Am I to be disgusted? Outraged? Humored? Intrigued? And I respond accordingly with what I think is proper, agreement or disagreement, using vague words like, "really?!", and "huh." and I smile. Occasionally I pick up more detailed things like the time she was pointing to my bracelet's and saying, "bangles", "chunky" (pronounced "tunkah") and "girls today", and "me young" and she gestured all up and down her arm. I put it all together as, "I see girls today wearing wide bracelet's but when I was young I wore thin bangles all up and down my arms. I like the thin ones better." To which I respond, "Oh I like the bigger bracelet's, the smaller ones make too much noise when you where them all at once." To which she responds with a shake of the head in disagreement and a cluck of the tongue and a smile. Once when I was stopping in to buy a redbull after lunch I ran in to two of my coworkers buying candy. We greeted each other and briefly chatted and put our purchases on the counter to pay. The Indian woman says to my coworkers, "you know this girl?" (yew know dis gurwl?), and my coworkers say yes, they know me, and the woman says, "you are so lucky to know her" (ew ah toe nuckey tah noa ha), she says, "you nice" pointing at my coworkers, then pointing at me, "but she, she berry berry nice".

Aww shucks. I think you're berry berry nice too.

Posted 10.19.2006 3:58:37 PM



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