Thursday, January 7, 2010

helpful hints for bookstore customers, part 9

O best beloved bookstore customers,

If you are going to engage me in conversation about my choice of outfit or Glenn Gould's nimble fingers, it is much more efficient (if less entertaining) to use standard conversational gambits. Things like sentences may be boring, but unless you inform me that you have actually instigated a game of charades, or a performance-art-rebus combining mime and monosyllabic noises, then I may just look at you in confusion and disbelief.

You certainly astonished me, and you added a friendly bit of strange to an otherwise ordinary day.

It was nice of you to bring a translator though.

(Fluttering hands from throat to waist.)
Ni, ni, ni.
(Moves one hand into a scallop, to indicate a wave.)
New. Old. New. Old. Young. Ma. Mi. Old. Young.

Oh, she means she remembers her mother wearing something like that when she was young. Fashions always come back, you know how it is. Up and down, like always.

(Tapping ear.)
Mi, mi, mi, mi. Ha.

She plays piano herself, of course. She's a great musician. Beautiful voice, really beautiful.

(Sighing. Tapping fingers in the air.)
Ooooohhhhh. Vue. Li-lah, li-lah, leeeee.

Ever since she was little. She knows all the music by heart. I bet she knows all the music you play here, even.

And so on, and so forth. I'm afraid I was so absorbed by the feeling that I had stepped into either a farce or an alternate world, that I have absolutely no memory of what books you ended up taking home. It was knocked out of my head by the way you said, "thank you," and "have a good evening," so that your translator almost translated for me before she realized she didn't have to.

1 comment:

S. Miller said...

Heh, that sounds almost like one of my clients. He knows he's supposed to say "bye" to people when they leave, and once you know him you can understand what he's trying to say the rest of the time, but he confuses the hell out of people unless there's someone standing by to say "oh, he means this."