Friday, September 16, 2011

Out of My Element: They Don't Speak My Language

I'm come to understand that I don't speak everyone's  language.  At least not the people I've had to talk to the last few days.  I've seen the blank stares, the shaking heads and the looks of wonder as I've asked questions or sought help in places outside my element. In many ways, they have talked a different language than me and their surroundings are not familiar. I've felt like a foreigner as I've looked around their "homes" and it's made me nervous.

Most of the time I seem to hang around people who speak my same language whose experience is similar to my own and who have "homes" that I feel very comfortable walking into and being a part of.

Not so much the people I've visited lately.

The lawn and garden worker at Lowe's looked at me as if I speaking a different language when I asked him if they carried that "thing" that makes the weed whacker actually whack the weeds.  He looked even more confused when I confessed that my lawn mower had just stopped working and that I thought it might have something to do with the oil that spewed out the week prior when I hit the oil cap on the house.  Maybe he had something to get it started again.

He looked at me as if I was talking gibberish when I asked how would I know how much oil to put in the thing and if I needed to mix it with anything or just pour away. He even tried to scare me to death (the tactic of those in charge) saying I might have blown up the engine. 

A few days later, I returned (mower works fine, thank you very much) to get the "do hickey" for the edger.  According to P, it was no longer edging and he needed a new blade. I went armed with the right words thanks to my husband, but two separate stores had nothing for me.  They recommended I go the the source, the Dewalt store, which of course is not open on the weekend.

So yesterday, I ventured to the store for all things Black and Decker and upon opening the door realized that I was in way over my head.  There were blades and knives and weaponry of all forms and all packaged in little boxes labeled with foreign words.  Thankfully, a kind soul who looked like he lived in the land came out and asked if I needed help. I handed over the old dead blade and asked him to replace it and quickly as I needed to get back home.  He chuckled and said this was the saddest, smallest, and most pathetic looking edger blade ever.  Then he went into the backroom and and came out a new one.

Then I asked him if he sold Sawzaw blades too.  It was not like I had any idea what I was asking for, but  I was just repeating the words P had given me.  We needed to replace some blades after the Eagle Scout project

Mr Tool then asked a whole bunch of questions about what I would be needing the blades for; metal, wood, cutting up people, etc. At least I think that's what he said.  I had that blank stare that happens when you have no concept what the person is talking about. So, I called my husband and asked him to translate. Minutes (maybe hours) later when I walked out of the store with blades and more blades in my hand, I called my husband back and shockingly he didn't answer. 

I left a long message about the fact that I refused to go to anymore of these places where they don't speak my language. I'd rather hang out a fabric store or a knitting shop. I get those people.  I might not understand everything they say in one of those shops, but I get them.  They get me. 

As P would later tell me it's like I speak Ebonics in the Knitting Shop.  Not quite the proper English, but close enough.

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