Posts Tagged ‘speaking’

Trying to fit in with the Spanish-Americans

July 25, 2008

I got off the train near my apt (near if you consider 5 blocks near) and headed homeward. Or homebound, whichever. With each step I took, the sky got darker and I got thirstier. I realized I didn’t have any dinner, but I wasn’t hungry. Only thirsty, for a nice cold cider beer from the Pencil Factory. 

Lindsay and I go to the Pencil Factory, which yes, used to be pencil factory in the good old days, when we are feeling like getting out of the apt but not getting onto the hot, sweaty, stinky subways (i love you MTA! planning on a 13% fare increase by 2011, darn you MTA). And the PF has the best setup for buying a cider and enjoying it. Situated on the corner of Franklin and another road I forget the name of, the outdoor seating is positioned in a way where you feel part of the group (of other barees) and also an individual, as you stare out through the 20 foot metal chain-link fence down the street, across one of the most-polluted waterways in the country, and over to the beautiful, envied Manhattan.

Enough about that though, because I wasn’t about to go to the Pencil Factory by myself, as I hobbled home from work + meeting in 2 inch heels (low for me these days). I wanted something bubbly and refreshing and I wanted it now. … Hmm, I thought as I passed by all the good grocery joints near me. Hmm.. I kept thinking, until it was too late. I was at my resident- and tree-lined block. But wait, there’s that strangely populated Spanish place 2 doors down from my crossstreet. I never go there because there’s always a crew of In-Crowd people standing around, speaking foreign languages I don’t understand (but should, because I took like 5,000 years of spanish in high school). 

I stepped inside and, wow! they have Seltzer Water (I’m planning on making spritzers at this point with the Pineapple Orange juice I have waiting in my fridge). And they have — wait for it — milk! And bread! Someone’s buying a loaf of bread here! Ok, Ok, so I’m not that prejudiced at all. I instantly liked the place actually, and grabbed my seltzer near the front, and turned around to join the checkout line, but there was no end. It was just a mob of people chittering away with their respective companions. I waited a minute or two, not understanding much of anything. Did they think I looked out of place? Wait, I always look out of place, I’m 6’0, skinny, and blond-ish. 

Where’s the end of the line, I asked everyone at once. Are you in line, I asked the guy in the black Polo. Is he in line, I asked the same guy about the strange old man with no teeth and bright yellow shirt that said “Jamaica NO PROBLEM”

Then after one or two quick shrugs of the eye, a nice mom-looking lady ahead of me said “There is no line.” in such a straightforward, there you go kind of way. 

Sorry! I’m a first timer, I shouted to my new comrade as she slowly made her way out of the store.

When it was finally my “turn” to buy my seltzer water, I was ready to get out of there, but the Crazy Old Yeller with the Jamaica shirt and dark leather-like skin hopped in front of me, waving 3 dollars at the guy behind the counter. Who knows!

Finally, the guy rang me up, and said “Uno y sesente y seis” or something like that.

Oh, okay, he wants to get tricky! I know my Spanish and I’ll prove it!

Um, $1.60? I squeaked. 

Noooh, nooooh, Chicitica, $One and $Sixty Nine, he responded. 

We finished the conversation in Mostly Spanish, and he was nice enough to even teach me how to say the right things at the right times. Everything sounded so familiar, like Buenos Noches, but felt so much cooler and edgier outside the classroom.

I think I’ll be needing more selzer water soon so I can attend my Mostly Spanish class again 🙂 Buenos Noches Amigos!!!


Update: Just learned last night that the building that they made pencils in a long time ago is actually located across the street from the bar, The Pencil Factory. 🙂