Tuesday, December 11, 2007


There is a lounge in my apartment building. There's a pool table and a number of comfortable sofas. There's a full-service bar. There's wireless internet, something it never even dawned on me to investigate during those weeks I walked six blocks down the street for wifi. Two very nice young Vietnamese nationals tend the bar. I frequently enjoy coffee in the lounge during the hour housekeeping is in our apartment. I was helped by the younger of the two lounge tenders today. He's labeled "Trainee" by a chrome nametag. As I was leaving, he asked me a question; but I still do not know what it was. I will forego attempting to phonetically interpret his somewhat halting English here. I heard the words "do you think" and here and there some other words that might have been "in the future," "are you?" and "work." He asked me several times, very friendly. I asked him to clarify different things, one at a time, my mind racing to solve this puzzle. I am usually pretty good at this. After several minutes, I asked him to write down what it was he wanted to know. Sometimes writing is easier that talking. So as an aid, he scrawled a document on the back of a credit receipt: the Letters I and T above the word "Electric", grouped within a bracket labeled "Job"; over to the side hovered "Future". He said "do you think, ah..." and he groped for words. I hate this. I'm embarrassed that our disconnect seems to criticize his English ability, a proficiency with no practical purpose in Vietnam besides making me more comfortable in his bar. I am looking forward to that trainee badge coming off and learning his real name. Or more likely an English version of it. [Cavin]*

Then, a 1 sided conversation ensued...

To which Blogger Mr. Cavin added:

* While all of this was going on today, Sunshine was busy at a banquet in honor of the Japanese Emperor Akihito, who will celebrate his seventy-fourth birthday in twelve days. I suspect he has to have his birthday party in so many countries that he needs two weeks to do it right. In the US, it cannot be celebrated on the eleventh because my very good friend Mr. Beaver* has already taken that day. Happy birthday, Saint Thomas.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007 4:10:00 AM  

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