Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On Superficial Interaction

For Awa (and family)*

A few unlikely but related things happened this morning in the first 5 minutes of my being awake:

- I used my voice box (for lack of a more medically accurate term) at 6:15 am.
- I had an enjoyable superficial interaction experience (that i didn't initiate - seems to be relevant).
- I exchanged pleasantries with the sweet man who cleans my apartment building a number (3?) of times a week.

The last point is unlikely for a number of reasons, the dominant one being the barrier of language. I was fairly certain he spoke solely either Hebrew or Russian. My Hebrew is dismal. In fact my Russian is probably better for the reason that for a while i was quite obsessed with Russia and all that it represents. A linguistically genius friend overheard and so the Russian lessons began. Although my obsession has mostly waned, i still use the occasional "Kak de la?" to greet a Russian-speaking Taxi driver. et al.

The sweet man that cleans my building a number (im pretty sure its Sundays, Mondays, and Fridays) of times a week somehow resembles my family. Not my family as a whole, but he has similar characteristics to, for example, my paternal grandfather, Baba-i, in the way in which he diligently goes about his labourous work. And in the way he appears much younger than you secretly know he is. And the way he is gentle and always seemingly content.

I like him. Im not exactly sure why, but i conclude it must be the family thing. I usually smile at him. He always smiles back.
Today, he caught me in the elevator acting out my morning ritual of rubbing my eyes and frowning at my dilapidating sneakers and nervously scanning my ipod for the perfect first song of the day.


"Oh, hi, um, Shalom!"

He closed his eyes, frowned a little, and nodded.

"Sport." he stated, moreso than asked.

"Yes, um, ken" i smiled, stumbling disorientedly over my non-existent Hebrew.

"Zehr Gut." he smiled back.

20 or so seconds later.....

The elevator doors flung open and i almost lept out to let out the smile that was growing uncontrollably across my face.

German! But of course!

*Very Ghobad-y too, he is.

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