Last week Jeff had purchased a power strip for our old freezer, as the outlet was about three inches farther away than the cord would stretch (we’re planning to convert it into a cooler for potatoes etc). He got it 13 miles away at our local hardware store. At the time, the debit card machine was down due to bank issues, so he was given a carbon copy receipt with the tax included purchase price, and told to return later to pay for it.
Friday we went up to pay for it; the owner of the store had literally about 50 of the receipts in his pocket! He told us he was still having issues and to just pay him next week. We spent about 40 minutes wandering the tiny store, looking at catalogs of solar lights, and chewing the fat with the owner. Having gotten exactly zero done of our said task, we went across the highway to the local market for some veggies to go with dinner.
The owner of the market is originally from Lebanon, and worked in the military in his younger days as a translater; he speaks Russian, Armenian, French, and of course Arabic in addition to English. I had a question for him regarding the entymological roots of a couple of Arabic words which completely stunned him — after he gathered himself, (“Why do you want to learn Arabic?? You wanna be a spy or something??”) he corrected my pronunciation and then ensued a wonderful conversation. We learned about his younger days in California, his associations with some of the greats of the rock and roll world (Samy Hagar, Led Zepplin, David Bowie, etc), his family, guitars, Middle Eastern music, and I can’t even remember what all. The upshot is that he said any time I want help with Arabic to come see him; he said his kids have trouble with the same stuff I do — and he has a bunch of old Arabic language movies he is going to try to dig up for me to watch.
We didn’t get the veggies, so that task was a wash too…but we learned that while it often takes longer to go to the closer stores, we learn more about our neighbors and build ties that way.