The man at the front of the line spoke two languages, at least. I couldn’t tell which one. The customer was on his cell phone, talking to someone in (apparently) his native language, and also trying to complete his business transaction, in English, with the American clerk.
The clerk and the man were dealing with lots of cash. The man in line had a big ole roll of cashola. I saw a fifty dollar bill on the outside of one roll of cash, and lots of other American dollars. So the linguist (very good English) was buying two money orders, speaking back and forth in two languages. He sounded a little desperate, but doing the best he could, with the business that had to be done.
As too often happens, a few things were lost in translation, while the two men tried to communicate, about different transactions in different amounts, in different languages, plus a stamps purchase. The man asked the clerk for exactly two stamps, more than once, worried I guess, about all the money matters. Who doesn’t worry?
How does this happen? How do things get so exacting and confusing at the same time? Maybe that’s how.
Anyway, I waited for the exacting, confusing transaction to play out. Behind me, a younger guy, maybe in his 40s, stood third. Behind the third man, two more people stepped up, a younger man and an older woman. Only something was wrong, because this particular younger man was very upset, almost yelling. How embarrassing, especially for the woman he was almost yelling at. She remained quiet, like she knew something was wrong, but just had to bear it.
The careful cash man (who can blame the careful these days?) eventually got the two money orders and two stamps, but it took a long time. It just went on and on. The younger 40-something guy, when we glanced at each other (and finally smiled about the mess we were all in) said, “Some days it would be better if I never left my apartment.” Don’t we know. For heaven’s sake, we had to laugh. Who’s on first?
- US Postal Service Commemorates 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with New Stamp (goodblacknews.org)
- Annual postal stamp increase (cinewsnow.com)
- Certified Translation of Mexican notarial stamps (translationsmexicodocs.wordpress.com)