January 27, 2009

Aliens and Santa

On Sunday afternoon, I found myself in Orange County, book in hand, laying on a blanket, watching a church soccer game. Nearby a 5 year old and 8 year old were impatiently waiting for their parent's game to end so they could go home and get warm. It was overcast and I was cold as well.
After a couple minutes of attempting to read 'The Weight of Glory', I invited them over to the blanket to hang out. We played paper, rock, scissors and the hand slap game. Then we played duck, duck, goose... the game just isn't fun with 3 people. After about 10 minutes of being the goose, little Eden (the 5 year old girl) suggested that we switch games and play 100 Questions. JT (the 8 year old boy) joyfully agreed. It seems that this is an expanded form of 20 questions, minus the pressure.
Eden started the game. A person... kind of, dead... no alive, poor... no rich. I thought, "This is going to be such a long soccer game." Finally JT asked, "Is he brown?" A nod from Eden. "Jesus!". Wow, I should have known...
JT was next. About 15 questions into the game, he could see the frustration from Eden and I, so he offered, "He's imaginary.. he's not real." Without thinking I blurted out "SANTA!" I was so proud of myself, I got it! Their reactions were raised eyebrows, with their big brown eyes staring back at me. Confusion, utter confusion.
I backpedaled, I said "Just kidding", I laughed, and then said "Leprechauns?" They had never heard of them before. I filtered out the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny to avoid any further damage.
Finally, JT just shrugged his shoulders and said, "It was an alien".
As a peace offering and to get their minds off of Santa, I offered them each a piece of sugarless gum. As we chomped away at our minty gum, Eden gave me princess stickers and JT showed me his slinky crazy eyes glasses. I wonder what the conversation that night at dinner looked like?

January 14, 2009

Here's my card, call me.

On a crisp Monday morning at 7am, I rode my bike to the Washington Street bus stop. I put my bike on the rack, and stepped onto a fairly empty bus. The bus driver greeted me with a "Good mornin' dah-lin!" Great first words of the day, right?

A couple minutes later, iPod in ears, a guy sat next to me. He said something but I couldn't hear him through my morning dose of Phil Wickham. I removed one small white earphone. "What's that?"

He said "Would I offend anyone if I sat here?" "Um, no." Slight smile.

"Do you mind if I talk to you?" "Uh, no." Bringing purse closer to my body.

"It's just that you're really beautiful." Oh stop. Really, stop.

"I'm a musician, I pay all kinds of music all around San Diego." Pulls out business card. It has his name, the word "Musician" and his phone and email. He tells me that the best way to get a hold of him is "just to call".

"Can I take you out for a cup of coffee?" I say, "I'm headed to work." He chuckles and says, "Well not right now..."

There's no kind way to put it. "No, thanks." He says, "It's been a pleasure, keep the card."

This is the 2nd time this has happened. The random business card pick-up... only the first time it was name, "Mattress King", phone and email. I wish I were kidding.

When will things move beyond Mattress Kings and Musicians?

Just moments after the musician moved back to his seat, an old Chinese couple boarded the bus. I offered them my seat in the front. The old woman responded with a confused face and "Wo ting bu dong." (basically "I don't understand"). I responded in Mandarin, which resulted in 5-7 minutes of excited conversation between us. I looked back at the Musician mid-way through the convo and he was wide-eyed and staring. The old Chinese man ended our conversation with "I like the look of your teeth".

All of this happened before 8am on a bus in San Diego. I'm convinced that if you want a foreign country experience, get out of your personal car and take the bus. You, too, can get great morning greetings, coffee offers and practice your Mandarin.