We are the only
non-minority (white) family in our neighborhood and it is a decent-sized block.
There are multiple Hispanic households. Across the street is a nice Samoan
couple. Our next door neighbors are black. And we have several immigrant
families from Russia and the Ukraine. At our most recent garage sale we were
attempting to sell a nice picture frame for 10 cents. An older Russian
gentleman wanted to buy it. He gestured to me, as if to ask how much it was.
For about 30 awkward seconds I repeated "Dime"
"Dime" "Dime" over and over. He did not speak English and I
unfortunately did not speak Russian. If there had been onlookers they probably
would have laughed at our inability to communicate as I imagine it was pretty entertaining.
But the old man was getting stressed. He really wanted that picture frame but
we were not understanding one another. So I had an idea and I ran to our cash
box. I grabbed the first coin I could find, a nickel. I ran back to the older
gentleman and I held the nickel up so he could see it. He still didn't
completely understand but he reached into his pants pockets and pulled out a
ton of coins. He held them in front of me with both hands. He was letting me
take any amount I wanted. I politely reached over to his hands and combed
through his money until I found another nickel. Then I help up my nickel and
his nickel and smiled. He breathed a sigh of relief and I smiled and said
"thank you." He nodded and smiled and walked away a happy customer.
Language barrier crisis averted and I even managed to make the sale. Perhaps I
should have gone into diplomacy.
Labels: garage sale, neighborhood, neighbors, Russian