Monday, June 04, 2007

When in Doubt, Say Yes and Nod, I was at a reader and author's get together this past Saturday and after drinking several glasses of water, I had to use the bathroom. I left the conference room and headed across the hotel hallway to the ladies room. On the left was the ladies room and on the right the mens. Between the two doors stood a very pleasant looking man wearing a light blue uniform with one hand on one of those universal cleaning thing-a-ma-jiggies--a large waste can with a mop attached to it and cleaning rags and bottles.

I came to a stop and asked, "Is the bathroom closed for cleaning?"

He smiled and nodded. "Yes!" Then he looked at me expectantly. I hesitated and took another step forward.

"Is it all right if I go in or is it being cleaned?"

"Yes!" He nodded, his smile bigger, his eyes widening.

Okay, I thought. Which question did he answer? Once again, I asked, in a bit louder voice, "Is it all right if I go in..." I paused for a moment, then pointed to the door. "Or is the bathroom closed for cleaning?"

His eyes opened wider showing whites all around and once again, he flashed those pearly whites at me. "Yes!" He nodded several times. Though he smiled so sweetly, his eyes almost showed fear.

Then I realized he must know only one word of English. So, I pushed open the door and went inside. Much to my relief, the little man didn't follow and I took care of business. When I left, he was gone.

Either I scared him away or he headed off to find a translator.

I just know this experience will someday find it's way into one of my novels.

1 comment:

larriane said...

at a time like that, universal sign language would really come in handle. lol